Rafael Nadal fans across the world were on the edge of their seats on Sunday. In fact, that is always the case when he faces Novak Djokovic in a Grand Slam final. One of those supporting Nadal was none other than the man who groomed him to be the player he is today.
Toni Nadal accompanied the trainees and staff members at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca to watch his nephew lift an all-time record-equaling Grand Slam title. Moments after Rafael won the French Open 2020 with an ace, his long-term coach Toni could not hold back his tears.
As Rafael was being interviewed on the court just after his win, Toni was asked his thoughts on his nephew’s unassailable feat. While celebrating with others back at the academy, he gathered his thoughts and gave his views on the win. But before that, we saw a moment of pure emotion.
The tensions ran high in the third set as Djokovic came back into the match. However, Nadal sent back everything Djokovic threw at him. At 5-5 in the third set, Djokovic succumbed to the pressure and double-faulted. This gave Nadal the decisive break of serve.
An ecstatic Toni jumped up from his seat back in Spain with a fist pump. This brought back memories from all those years Toni and Rafael celebrated in unison at the stadium. Cheers of ‘Vamos Rafa’ followed by the students at the academy. They watched Nadal earn the chance to serve for the match.
Toni is one of the biggest reasons behind Rafael’s foray into professional tennis. He started coaching his nephew at a very tender age and was with him for most of his illustrious career.
Eventually, Toni retired as Rafael’s coach to devote more time to the academy. However, the pair won 16 Grand Slam titles together before parting ways.
At Roland Garros, Rafael himself was teary-eyed on the court as the Spanish national anthem played on the screen.