30-year-old World’s number 7 Rafael Nadal has said that he would have been playing football instead of tennis had it not been for his uncle Toni Nadal. The 2017 Australian Open finalist was under the tutelage of his uncle for a long time and during the course, he won 14 Grand Slams. He came close to add more to his tally, but unfortunately for him, Roger Federer got better of him in the 2017 Australian Open final in January.
Eventually, in February 2017, Toni decided to back off citing the reason that he was less involved in the decisions and further stated that he wanted to concentrate more on Rafael Nadal’s Tennis Academy to develop the young crop. Even though Toni himself admitted that he would love to travel with his nephew whenever asked, Rafael has said that he respects his uncle’s decision.
“I think I can be ready to be on the Tour without Toni,” Nadal said as quoted on TennisWorldUSA. “It’s not a revolution, he simply decided not to travel with me anymore and I respect it.”
“I will have to find a new organisation without him. I thank him much for everything, but it’s not a big change. It’s something new, I will have to adapt to it like i did for many things in my life. Our relationship won’t change. If he took this decision, he thinks that it is the best thing for him and probably for me too [laughs].”
Nadal was further asked about Toni’s reduced role and the Spaniard replied by saying that it was very normal, however, he always listened to his uncle.
“Obviously I am 30 and not 14, it’s normal that I take my own decisions about many things,” he explained. “But I always listen Toni’s opinion or my family. When he says that he is not taking decisions anymore, it’s not in a bad way.”
“Without Toni I wouldn’t have played tennis but football. He has had a strong impact on my game, personality and education. If he asks me to come with me at the Roland Garros next year, I will be happy to be with him. Will he ever be with another player on the Tour? I don’t know. You will have to see how it goes with the younger players of the academy. But it will be impossible for him to travel as much as he did with me. He has two sons who play tennis, and they do it very well.”