After accompanying his grandson Rafael Nadal for most of his career, Uncle Toni decided to take up permanent care of the Academy located in Manacor. His former coach gave a long interview with Blick, where he went into the details of his collaboration with Rafa, as well as revealing that he never received a penny for his coaching job.
The Majorcan is only one length away from the record of Slam titles of the eternal rival Roger Federer, who this year will not even be able to hunt for his ninth title in Wimbledon (canceled for Coronavirus).
Uncle Toni: 'Rafael Nadal never paid me a single euro'
"He never paid me a single euro.
That is what allowed me to have total independence . If I had had to depend on his salary, I would have accepted things that I was not willing to accept. By not allowing him to pay me, I bought my freedom of expression and independence.
Rafael's father and I inherited a family business and agreed that he would take care of it and I of the tennis" - Uncle Toni said. "I made his life very difficult at times. There were training sessions longer than usual, I forced Rafa to train with bad balls in very adverse courts.
The truth is that he was the best student I could imagine. His willingness to learn was brutal and he always understood harshness and demand as a means to an end. Overall, I made high demands of him when he was a child. The character is of no use to you if you don't hit the balls.
And that's about it. Rafael has a great drive, a very good backhand and, like no other, can place the ball well from difficult positions. And then he has a good character too! Very beautiful. Because we have always worked on that too.
Bad behavior leads to problems on the tennis court and in life. I would never have tolerated him throwing a racquet. Rafael Nadal knows that he is an excellent tennis player. But he also knows that he doesn't have to feel special about it.
It is no different with Federer. Rafael was always smart enough to let adults with life experience guide him at the right moment. That's why fame or money never went to his head. We no longer had to work on the present, we always have to think about the future.
At that time I listed Rafael the names of all Spanish players who had only won one Grand Slam in their careers. And asked him if he wanted to be one of those or to achieve more" - Toni concluded.