Toni Nadal introduced his nephew Rafa into tennis at three or four and taught him how to compete and always get the most out of himself. After each success, Toni showed the list of the event's former champions and explained to Rafa that many are not in the game anymore because they had not worked hard enough.
The rest is pretty much history, and Rafa stands among the best players of all time with 19 Majors and 35 Masters 1000 trophies. Over the years, the clay warrior has experienced incredible battles with Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and many other top-level rivals, suffering severe losses and enjoying brilliant victories without forgetting his uncle's first lessons.
Nadal hasn't thrown a racquet despite spending three decades on the tennis court, learning how to channel his disappointment and turn it into his strength. Toni Nadal stayed with his nephew until the end of 2017 and won the last Major together in Paris in June.
He became one of the most accomplished coaches and took over Rafa Nadal Academy and the ATP 250 event in Mallorca. Unlike in 2019, Toni will not be in Paris to support Rafa in another Roland Garros final, watching it from his home in Mallorca and hoping his nephew will play a good match and beat Novak Djokovic for the 20th Major crown.
Toni is aware that the conditions do not work in Rafa's favor, although he is optimistic about the outcome, knowing his nephew will raise his level, as always when he needed to. Nadal will compete in the 13th Roland Garros final in 16 trips to Paris, overpowering six rivals and the Parisian weather to reach the title match without losing a set.
Toni Nadal believes his nephew Rafael will stand a chance against Novak Djokovic.
Rafa had to work hard against Jannik Sinner and Diego Schwartzman, and it is likely to be even more formidable against the world's leading player Novak Djokovic who is through first Roland Garros final since 2016.
It will be the ninth Major final between these two, matching the record set by Nadal and Federer, and the third in Paris, with Nadal winning the previous two. In the past 26 ATP finals, Djokovic grabbed 15 wins and Nadal 11, with another thrilling match between two tennis giants coming in a couple of hours on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
"The final will not be easy for Rafa because there are many factors that speak for Novak Djokovic. I'm not nervous; I trust my nephew. I will watch the final alone; I prefer to be quiet for this kind of meeting. Rafa knows he has to raise his level. And when he had to, he would always succeed. He will have to play his best tennis to beat Novak," Toni Nadal said.