In an interview to Babolat, Rafael Nadal's uncle Toni recalled the 33-year-old's beginnings in tennis. "I perfectly remember when Rafael started playing tennis. I remember what he did on the first day, I think he was three years old.
It was in Manacor where I was running a tennis school. I was throwing him some balls, not many. He was young. He was doing a good job. Over all those years Rafael's evolution on his game was a normal and natural one. What is good in a given moment cannot go well after some years.
When he was eight, nine or ten, I thought he would play at a high intensity. When he was younger, he was a very aggressive player, he hit the ball straight forward but when we joined the ATP Tour Rafael played against more experienced players and he was starting to hit the forehand he does now.
And he won. I should not say it, but I prefer the normal shot. But his game developed, before he was fresh and fit, now a bit less. Now I am no longer his coach and so I totally changed. I evolved as a coach. But not just as a coach.
Nobody stays the same over the time. When I coached in Manacor, I knew the Balearic and Spanish tennis. When I joined the Tour, I saw how Federer, David Ferrer, Murray and Djokovic trained and looking at them you learned things.
And when Rafael won his maiden French Open, for us it was unbelievable. Anybody who starts playing tennis as a kid, dreams to win a Major. For us Spaniards, the French Open was always special. We always dreamed of winning there.
He had won in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome and when we came to Paris, he was one of the favorites with Federer."