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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Toni Nadal reveals why he succeeded as a coach

By Martin Zendrón

Herald Staff

“There are two things: I’m his uncle and I don’t charge him, so I must be the cheapest coach in the world,” joked Antonio “Toni” Nadal about his relationship with seven-times Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal.

“It’s important to care about the person who is with you. Rafael had to stand my bad temper some times although I’m his uncle, and later you appreciate that kind of things,” said Toni Nadal in a press conference at the Panamericano hotel yesterday. “He is the only player in the circuit who has the same coach from the beginning of his career.”

Toni Nadal has coached his 26-year-old nephew since he was a little kid and, up to now, the Spaniard player has won eleven Grand Slams, including an all-time record seven French Open titles, the 2008 Olympic gold medal and a record 21 ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments (tied with Roger Federer).

Although Rafael Nadal was always a successful player, his uncle worked hard to keep him in the correct way.

“Any person who feels special has problems in his head. The only special thing of Rafa is that he is a great tennis player and he can play in front of 20,000 people, but he is a normal guy. It’s true that he has more money and is famous, but he has been always the same person,” said Toni Nadal about the personality of his nephew. “Sometimes, people who succeed lose their way, that’s why I’m still surprised with his commitment.”

The coach also said that the World No. 8 Argentine Juan Martín del Potro could become No. 1.

“(Juan Martín) Del Potro is a player with a great potential. He had bad luck in 2010 with his injury after winning the US Open in 2009. It’s very difficult to beat him, because he does almost everything right. He aspires to become No. 1 in the world.”

World No. 4 Nadal has not played since June when he was eliminated from the second round in Wimbledon. He suffered a knee injury and will probably compete again in an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi in December.

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