What has been Rafael Nadal's biggest rival in career? His uncle Toni picked a choice in an interview to El Periodico: "Roger Federer for what he meant. Rafael fought with him when Federer was already a top guy. The fight between them was very good for tennis.
Novak Djokovic was a difficult rival too." Asked what was the biggest surprise, Toni picked the 2005 Rome title. "Rafa came three very tired. He has played many matches. I told him that the final needed to be short otherwise he would have no option.
And he won the title in five sets and five hours. It surprised me the way he dealt with it and played." His main worry is dated back to 2005 again, due to a foot injury. "We thought he would never be able to play tennis again.
It was a very hard moment for him, because he was seeing getting carried away all what he fought for, and for us as we did not know how to help him." A satisfaction: "The maiden Monte Carlo in 2005. It was the first Masters 1000 title and for me it's a special tournament for its history and tradition.
Knowing that Rafael's name would be on the list with Bjorn Borg, Ilie Nastase, Ivan Lendl, Manuel Orantes... It was a big satisfaction." On the Academy, Toni added: "It's Rafael's project where I work as well.
As his uncle, I wish the project lasts for many years and that it goes as best as possible. The better it goes, the happier I am for him. But it's his business where I try to bring my experience of all these years in the world of tennis.
I tried analyzing all the time what I did well and what I was wrong into and I had the chance to see players like Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Andy Murray… seeing the best guys helped me a lot to learn and observe things that I would like to bring in my Academy."