Toni Nadal- The man behind Rafa's success
After his victory over Anderson in the US Open final, Rafael Nadal paid a touching tribute to his uncle Toni and described him as 'one of the most important' people in his life. He said "I can't thank him enough for the things that he did for me. Probably without him, I would never be playing tennis." Let us know more about Toni Nadal.
Toni Nadal, who is a former pro tennis player, had been by Rafa's side since his childhood. In fact, it was Toni, who had put a racket in Rafa's hand at the age of 3 and suggested his nephew learn the game left-handed, despite not being a natural lefty. Rafa stuck with it and Toni coached him through juniors and on to the ATP.
Toni did not only shape the player; he also used his position to shape the person. If Rafa is still out there chasing down balls in his 30s with the same intensity that he had in his 20s, it is because of his character. If Rafa still looks hungry, and that is surely due in part to his uncle pushing him more and more.
"I'm interested, most of all, in the question of learning," Toni had once said. "When I go into the locker room, as I did just now, I might tell Rafa he played very well, but my idea is always what can we do to make him better, even better." It was Toni who was always pushing Rafa to improve, sometimes, giving even Federer's example.
In February, the elder Nadal revealed that he would step down as Rafa's coach at the end of this season. He wants to oversee the Rafa Nadal Academy in Spain, and spend more time with his wife and children. Alas, nothing lasts forever! But one thing is for sure- coaches may come and go, Uncle Toni will remain a constant in Rafael's box.