Damn it can’t lie … After leading his nephew Rafael to the top of world tennis, Toni Nadal, 59, has just seen his two sons, Joan, 16, and Toni Jr, just 18, win at Manacor (Esp ) their first professional match on the ITF circuit.
The two teenagers are of course boarders of the Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy, which hosted the tournament and where their father has been leading the technical team since his retirement from the Tour three years ago. Bathed in the exploits of their illustrious cousin – they witnessed some of his Grand Slam coronations and closely observed his workouts Joan and Toni Jr. could hardly escape family destiny.
Even if Toni did not put on them the same pressure as he exerted on little Rafa, shaped since the age of three and raised the hard way on the courts of the Balearics. “I often cried, it was very hard,” said the world No. 2. The word he used the most was aguantar (Editor’s note: support). He wanted me to become able to take anything. “
“Sacrifices, Confidence and Perseverance”
If the duo simply inherits the self-sacrifice and resilience of the man at the 20 Grand Slams, he will probably be able to win a few games… “I will never tell a parent that his son cannot become a professional athlete,” explained recently Toni Nadal. We cannot know if he will be very strong or not. It’s good to be realistic, but what makes the difference is having dreams. And I won’t be the one who takes away a player’s dreams. Getting into the top flight is very complicated and not everyone can do it, but as long as they believe it, there will be a chance. “
Some advice from the father remains universal. “Today it’s very easy to blame someone else for your mistakes, but I made Rafa think the exact opposite,” he said at one of the lectures ‘he dispenses. And Toni Nadal to clarify: “I taught him to be responsible for his actions and decisions, I always told him that his failures were not the fault of others and that easy excuses are useless in life. . Being responsible, playing with determination and playing every ball like it’s match point, then constantly striving to improve without making excuses is how I coached my nephew. Sacrifices, confidence and perseverance are the pillars of my training method. A champion’s program. But not everyone is (Rafael) Nadal…