According to many fans and insiders, Rafael Nadal's forehand is one of the best in tennis history. The Spaniard champion, in fact, has become over the years a real symbol of "left-handed" worldwide, being perhaps the most famous player on the globe playing with his left hand.
Before him, other first-rate names had stood out in this particular tennis family: Rod Laver, Martina Navratilova, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Goran Ivanisevic, just to mention the most famous. During a recent interview with Blick, uncle Toni busted the myth that he had made his right-handed nephew play tennis left-handed.
Toni Nadal: 'It is a legend that persists'
"It is a legend that persists. (It) would be nice if I had so much foresight! In truth, Rafael Nadal played forehand and backhand (with two hands) until he was about 10 years old.
When we started playing the forehand one-handed, he did so with the left. And that's how it turned out. It is still astonishing, because otherwise he is an outspoken right-hander" - Uncle Toni said. He also recalled some funny incidents from Rafael Nadal's childhood: "Yes, that was funny.
I told him that I had won the Tour de France six times on a motorcycle! When we watched recordings of football matches, I pretended to be live and predicted what was going on. Or I told him I was invisible. I had previously told everyone to pretend I wasn't there.
He believed for a long time that I was a phenomenon. Another wonderful episode (laughs). We went to a tournament where older boys played. So I told him I would let it rain if he was badly losing. And in fact it started to rain during his game.
But he later assured me that he had everything under control and that I could stop the rain now," said Toni Nadal with a laugh. Nadal is already regarded by some tennis critics and former players as the greatest clay-court player in the history of the sport.
He won a record 81 consecutive matches on clay from April 2005 to May 2007. This is the longest winning streak of any male player on a single surface in the Open Era. He also has a 22-1 record in the finals of clay-court tournaments and is undefeated in over 40 best-of-five-set matches on clay.
He is the only male player other than Bjorn Borg to have won four consecutive French Open titles in the Open Era and one of only three in the Open Era who won both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same calendar year.