Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Uncle Tony & Rafa

Toni Nadal: 'Out of competition, I will keep coaching Rafa also next year'

In an interview to the Spaniard website La Vanguardia, Toni Nadal clarified his working relationship with his nephew Rafael, revealing some important things. Will he keep following Rafa, won't he... what is the situation? 'Neither yes nor no. I always said the same thing. I never said what was written on a website. The thing is very simple. I was at a coach meeting and they asked me about my Academy in Manacor. I always said that I am even more involved into it. And that next year I would have loved to be involved even more. Someone asked me: 'So won't you travel with Rafa anymore?' And I didn't reply. I never said to that journalist that I decided even less in the team', Toni said referring to his sayings made in Budapest in early February.

'I was with Magnus Norman, Wawrinka's coach. They asked Norman: 'Who decides on how to plan practice sessions?' Norman said: 'The player'. And I said the same thing, adding: "My case is different, because I have been with Rafael for a lifetime". When he was little, I decided everyhing. But when Rafael grew up, other people were involved. His father, his agent... I said: "It's normal". I do not care about numbers, I don't know how much it is to go to a tournament, nor I know the relationship with press. The press officer handles it, for example. That's all what I said. My job in tennis is to develop the player. Anyone can coach Djokovic, Federer, Murray or Rafael. It's obvious that despite you decide less, things can go well. And then I said the truth. I have my own age. Rafa is well followed by Francis (Roig) and Carlos (Moya). I like Being in the academy more than anything. And that's all. Then if next year Rafael asks me to be with him in Monte Carlo or Paris, I will accept. Or if others won't be there, I will.'

So could the situation be the same as always? 'Like always nope, because travelling means to be more coaching. It's not the same to spend with Rafael two weeks per year than 22. So when he will be home I will keep training him like I have been doing this year'. It's true that Toni wasn't at Rafa's practice sessions always since the last off-seasons: from middle December sometimes Carlos Moya was the only one on court in Manacor, and Francis Roig attended Rafa's practice sessions often.

Despite the last years did not go well, Nadal and his team never stopped to be confident. 'If you lose it, then it's better to call it a career. In the life you have to be confident in yourself more than anything, even when you have doubts and you ask yourself if you will ever comeback. In Rafael's case, several injuries influenced him mentally. Last year he had anything. We had to solve first the problems with the strings. He played very well in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and then hurt his wrist, which was crucial.'

Rafa himself admitted how Toni was an uncle more special than his other ones. But he didn't educate Rafa: 'His parents did. When I had to, I have been educating him since he was 3-4 aged. And when we travelled together and he was 12, if I saw that he launched a paper on the floor, I had to say him not to do it. Did I have to Remember him to be with feet on the ground? Never. Rafael always listened my suggestions. This is the most important thing.'

How did he handle his bad moments mentally? 'As much natural as possible, making him understand that difficulties are part of the life. Many times when things go wrong and he has issues, I say him: "Rafael, that's it, you have to play like this'. I don't think much if it happens this or that. If I can run, I run. If I make forehand unforced errors, I try the backhand. Without having any regret.'

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