Uncle Toni has always had a major impact on Rafael Nadal's career. The two have won a total of 16 Grand Slams together, a haul that has made them one of the most successful pairs in the history of the sport. Only a few know that the Spanish phenomenon has not always played tennis with his left hand.
In a recent interview, the 20-time Grand Slam champion recalled how his uncle helped him transform this ability into a strength to be exploited. This year, the former world number 1 was awarded Roland Garros for the 13th time, thus equaling the all-time record of his eternal rival Roger Federer.
On the occasion of the Rolex Paris Masters, the 34-year-old Majorcan sealed his 1000th victory in the major circuit. However, Rafa was unable to break the Finals taboo as his journey to London's O2 Arena came to a halt in the semifinals ahead of future winner Daniil Medvedev.
The Iberian legend will also be one of the favorites at the Australian Open 2021, which will take place from 8 to 21 February in Melbourne Park. The tennis players will travel to Australia between January 15th and 17th and undergo two weeks of mandatory quarantine.
Nadal on his ambidexterity
“I played two hands, two setbacks because I started very small and had no strength,” began Rafael Nadal. “My uncle told me: ‘On television do you see many who play everything two-handed?’ I answered: ‘No.’ And he told me: ‘Well, you have to do it together.’ And it was natural for me to hit the drive with my left.
I have more sensitivity with the right for almost everything. I also play soccer with the left. To golf, with the forehand, but it’s normal because it’s like a tennis backhand,” added the 34-year-old Spaniard.
“The rest is true that they are strange things,” concluded the World No.2 Nadal. Rafael Nadal's incredible top-spin forehand was voted the best, earning him a total of 57 points. Nadal was followed by Swiss rival Roger Federer in second place (39 points), and then Argentine Juan Martin del Potro with 29 points.
A 13-time champion at the French Open, Nadal also edged out Novak Djokovic in the poll for mental strength. The Spaniard scoring 68 points and was followed by Djokovic with 52. Meanwhile, 20-time major winner Roger Federer was voted to have the best volleys in the game with 63 points. He was followed by Nadal with 24 points and then French player Pierre-Hugues Herbert (13 points).