To be the very best in the world you need to be surrounded by the best; Rafael Nadal has been since the day he was born. Toni Nadal, his uncle, has been coaching him since Rafa got his first racket.
Toni Nadal was born on February 21, 1956 in Manacor, Spain. He always wanted to be a tennis player, started playing in a small club in his hometown. He tried to study History and Law, but he never finished. His dream was to be a tennis player.
When he became a coach he dreamed that a tennis player he trained would one day become the best in Spain. Years later he got it. Antonio Nadal Homar’s method is simple, he even defines himself as an enthusiast of austerity and minimalism. Less is more. That is the path that led Rafa to be the best in the world.
The road that Toni and Rafa have walked together can hardly be equalled, 27 years and 75 titles. Toni, the coach, takes himself as being more strict than gentle. To Rafa he’s always conveyed a feeling of dissatisfaction, maybe that’s why he has never been satisfied. Even Toni has declared that Federer is the best tennis player in the world.
Without a doubt, this duo made history, and I say “made” because Toni has officially announced his retirement. He wrote on November 20:
“The Masters Cup of this last week has been the finishing touch to my career as coach of my nephew Rafael. I conclude a happy stage of 27 years that began the day when the 3 year old son of my brother Sebastian entered my tennis court. Today I leave your side but my path does not end here. I will continue to be linked to tennis because my enthusiasm and love for this sport, fortunately, remain intact.”
In 2018 we will see another Nadal. No longer will the great Toni Nadal who fulfilled his dream, coach the best tennis player in the world. Toni, the motivator, the one who did not compromise and passed that on to his nephew. The coach who inhibited the pain of the best Spanish athlete: Rafael Nadal has played with chronic pain in his foot since 2005.
The retirement comes about because Toni wants to be with his children and his wife, so much travelling can wear you out and we understand. Being behind the best tennis player in the world must not be easy. Natali, as Rafa calls him, does not leave tennis altogether; he will keep coaching kids from his native Manacor.