Toni Nadal trained his nephew Rafael Nadal for 27 long years, before their historic partnership ended at the end of 2017. Together, Rafa and Toni have amassed 75 titles, including 16 Grand Slams. Having stopped touring the world, Toni was able to devote himself full time to his role as coach and mentor for the boys.
The former world number 1 has been accompanied by Carlos Moya and Francisco Roig for the past three years, managing to remain competitive despite the enormous physical expenditure that his tennis requires. Winning Roland Garros for the 13th time in his career (the fourth without losing a single set), the 34-year-old Majorcan has equaled the 20 Grand Slam record of eternal rival Roger Federer.
In a recent interview with Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Uncle Toni said he played a crucial role in Rafa's growth, but - at a certain point - he realized he had nothing more to teach the legend of Manacor.
Uncle Toni on Rafael Nadal
“I had come to believe that my contribution was no longer necessary,” Toni Nadal said.
“I've been a very demanding coach all my life. But it was always my goal to educate him to demand everything from himself. The job of a trainer is to make yourself dispensable. I think I did it”. Uncle Toni expressed his gratitude for being able to train an extraordinary player who also happens to be his nephew.
"No (I don’t miss him), I was very lucky to train a great player who is also my nephew,” Toni explained. “I enjoyed that and I feel grateful for it too. But I like to train children, because I have the feeling that I can give them more than my nephew."
Rafael Nadal’s love for football, and in particular Real Madrid, is well-documented. "What upset Rafa the other day about the video referee when there were three penalties against Real Madrid in Valencia," Toni Nadal said.
“I especially remember that Clasico in 2017 when we were in Monte Carlo and Messi scored the winning goal in the last minute,” Toni said. “Rafa had won the tournament on the same day and then the Clasico almost ruined his day”.
In 2020, a year that has not been the greatest for many, the Spanish sensation has done wonders for himself. Winning the French Open for a record 13th time is unthinkable. Nadal even holds the record for being in the ‘top 10’ for the most consecutive number of weeks.
As the season has come to an end for this year, Nadal will next be seen at the Australian Open in 2021. The tournament has finally got the green signal to begin from the 1st of February.