While many tennis experts have given their opinion about why the Big Three in men's tennis - Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic - are still dominating tennis, Toni Nadal, the uncle and former coach of Rafael Nadal, has put it down to the new generation of players not being good enough and not practicing hard enough.
Speaking to the Tennis Now website at the Toni Nadal Camp at the Rafa Nadal Tennis Centre in Costa Mujeres, Mexico, Toni Nadal says, "Many times people ask me why are Djokovic and Federer and Rafael still there? Why are Rafael and Djokovic and Federer still there? Because the young ones are not too good.
This is the first reason. And this is something that we have to think—at least it makes me think." Uncle Toni, as he is fondly called, says that players are paying too much attention to other details instead of practicing and training harder.
"Before, when Rafael was young, we had tennis racquets, some balls, some sparring—sometimes good, sometimes not too good—and we had not too many things. Now, to play tennis, we need some video analysis, we need biomechanical analysis, we need statistical studies, we need a nutritionist and when we lose some matches, what happens? We need some psychology.
What happened? What happened? It’s very simple—they are not too good. It’s nothing else. Many years ago, a girl asked me why I make this mistake? I said it’s because I am not good enough. But today, no. Today, when we lose some matches we go to the psychologist and the psychologist says: ‘Oh, you have to imagine this and this and only these things.’ Unbelievable.
Because tennis is simple. When I make a mistake I go and practice a little more—and that’s all. People start to play tennis today when they are five years old and they improve and they are now 23 years old and they are not good enough.
When we arrived on the ATP Tour the best players were: Andy Roddick, 20 years old. Federer, 21, Hewitt, 21, Coria, 21, Nalbandian, 21. Then Ferrero, 23, Safin, 24. Now the best players are Roger, 38, Rafael, 33, Djokovic 32 and Murray.
What happened? We have many things and the people improve later. Something’s wrong. It’s because, in my opinion, they think of not the most important things. This is true. I think in this time the people think too much importance to the secondary kind of things and not too much importance on the central things and that’s what happens today.
They give importance to the fashion and other things and then we think everything goes good and we forget what the most important thing is."