- Nachiket Chavan
With the end of ATP finals marks the end tennis season and end of the second favourite partnership of mine in sports after Sachin – Sehwag, a partnership between Uncle Toni and Rafael Nadal.
The man who made Nadal king of clay and one of best player in tennis history, the man who made Nadal play dominating, aggressive tennis yet he was raised so perfect you would never see Nadal get angry over others or throw his racquet, the man who stood behind Nadal as rock through his ups and downs and all the injuries Antonio ‘Toni’ Nadal.
Toni Nadal or Uncle Toni as known to fans was a semi-professional tennis, table tennis and swimming. While his brother represented Barcelona football club he eventually settled into training tennis players. It is at this time he started teaching his nephew Rafael Nadal.
Uncle Toni had an authoritarian style of coaching since the beginning. Rafael described his style as hard and would as child return home crying. He demanded respect for the equipment as throwing it would mean lack of respect to the ones who cannot afford it.
A man with such strong stance on tennis, players and life itself now has 16 Grand Slams with his nephew to back 75 singles titles. He now intends to work with Rafael Nadal Academy.
Farewell Uncle Toni. Gracias!