Toni Nadal, the uncle and former coach of World No. 2 Rafael Nadal, says that former US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro could have been World No. 1 if he did not suffer from so many injuries in his career. Speaking to the Super Deportivo Radio program on Radio Villa Trinidad, uncle Toni, as he is famously known, spoke about the various Argentinian rivals that Nadal had faced during his career.
"Coria, Gaudio and Nalbandian, all of them at their level were difficult. Then (Juan Martín) Del Potro appeared, who if he had not had so many injuries would have fought for the world number 1. Del Potro had practically everything: a good drive and backhand, a great serve.
Then he had to adapt more, due to his wrist problem, but the Del Potro who wins the US Open or the one who was a finalist in the London Masters, could have stayed among the best for a long time, but he was very unlucky and if he hadn't been injured we would have seen him win many things.
Nalbandian was the player that troubled Rafael the most. He had a very high technical and creative capacity. He was a player who could surprise you. David had something that Rafael found very difficult. Nalbandian moved very well.
When he played well and was at his best level, it was very difficult to beat him." Toni Nadal also recalled an incident involving Argentine legend Guillermo Vilas during the early part of Nadal's career. "Many years ago we were in Sopot (Poland).
I think we beat Franco Squillari in the quarterfinals. Vilas was there, because they were going to give him a recognition. When that game ended, I'm going to say hello to Vilas, because I had grown up having Vilas as a great reference and idol.
I remember when I said hello he said to me: 'I can tell you something' And I told him just wait a couple of minutes, and I ran to look for Rafael, and I told him to come because I wanted him to hear what Vilas was going to say.
Guillermo gave Rafael tennis advice at that precise moment, advice that from that moment I always repeated many times: "Rafael, everyone knows how to run, when you throw these shorts to the baseline, everyone near the base line knows how to run, but when you throw a short one, a high one, one here and one there, people get disoriented.
I think that was decisive. In the end Guillermo what he wanted to say is that he had to change his game a little more and from that moment on I used that advice many times to say to Rafael: "Remember what Guillermo told you ..."
When Rafael grew up I would say something similar to him, but it is not the same for Toni Nadal to say it as it is for Vilas to say it since he went through those situations, that he knew how to win many titles and was number 1, it is easier to convince."