In an exclusive interview with Tennis World USA, Christer Hult recalled when he first saw Rafael Nadal in 2003 Monte Carlo Masters. Hult said: "I was talking to Carlos Moya, who was supposed to play in our event, and he said I should have had a look at the young player who was practicing next to him.
I saw he was a fantastic player, especially at that age, at 16 years of age in 2003. The way he was hitting the ball was just great to see. I promised him a wild card for Bastad, then he made progress during that clay season.
He was very stubborn, he was ending up three or four meters back from the baseline and after a match, he was hitting backhands for two hours in a training session. He is very humble, a good guy. He plays a very tough game of course, so his body went through a lot of pain, he suffered a lot of injuries and it was very hard to comeback.
But I never had any doubt from my side that he would keep playing. I am not surprised by his longevity." About Toni Nadal's influence on Rafael, Hult said: "I have been talking to Toni a lot. Not only in tournaments but also at the Academy in Mallorca.
We have been running a co-operation together and that's why we brought Toni to Bastad, to inspire our Swedish kids, how to develop yourself. It's also very impressive to listen to Toni on how Rafa trained as a kid. I liked his teaching method, he has huge knowledge and he is a very good person."