In an interview to Le JDD Rafael Nadal's uncle Toni was asked for how many years his nephew may keep playing tennis. "It's difficult to say if Rafa will still be here until the 35 years of age. He never spoke about an age for the retirement, but he will stop well before ending as world No.
40, he would not care about it anymore and he would be very happy to bring Roger Federer on his boat." Toni also recalled Rafael's beginnings: "In 2000 at the Petits in Tarbes, Rafael beat Julien Gely in a final.
He faced Richard Gasquet, that beat him 6-4 in the third set the year before he started breaking through but he was playing football in the same time as well. I bought him his first racket at the age of four years. He was hitting two-handed, on the forehand and backhand side.
We also tried the serve with each hand in order to see the body language. Then I thought he was a natural lefty, I knew it was not that easy. He was a very calm kid, but he was already intense on the court even if he accepted the loss better than me.
Everything happened so fast... It was great to see him winning in the French Open at 19 years, on his first appearance. However Rafael was heading into that event being the favorite after his wins in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome.
The fact that Zinedine Zidane gave him the trophy obviously made him joyful. Real Madrid is his club, but not mine."