“My Nephew Has More Talent” – Uncle Toni Reveals the Young Age He Discovered Rafael Nadal

Published 08/22/2021, 9:11 AM EDT
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO – APRIL 13: Rafael Nadal of Spain in a practice session as uncle and coach Toni Nadal watches on during day two of the Monte Carlo Rolex Masters tennis at the Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 13, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)


Since turning pro in 2005, Rafael Nadal established himself one of the most recognised names in men’s tennis. With 20 Grand Slam victories, he defined the game along with Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, who share the same record.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

However, he showed signs of becoming a highly successful tennis player at an early age. Recently, his uncle Toni detailed when he first spotted his nephew’s talent.

Toni Nadal reveals speaking to Rafael’s parents when he was seven years old

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The 50-year-old recently appeared on The Double Bagel Tennis Podcast with Eric Han. During the 30-minute interaction, he spoke about several aspects of his nephew ranging from his mentality to his toughest opponents. One of the questions he was asked was when he saw the talent Rafael possessed, to which he said it was at seven years old.

He said“When he was seven, I spoke with my brother, his father. Of course, I spoke only with his brother like this, and I said, ‘I am sure that your son will be a Spanish champion.’

“Because, before I coached another one who was number two in Spain, and my nephew has more talent, has more decision. And then, Rafael was always good. When he was eight, for his age, he was very good. When he was 11 years old, he became a Spanish champion.”

DIVE DEEPER

Who are Rafael Nadal’s Parents and How Have They Influenced his Life?

almost 2 years ago

Toni: Always believed Rafael Nadal can be a great tennis player

Toni Nadal also mentioned how his nephew’s junior career made him believe in his career. In addition, he also mentioned the importance of motivation to achieve goals in Rafael‘s career.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates victory with the trophy alongside coach Toni Nadal after the men’s singles final against Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland on day fifteen of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 11, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“You can understand and you can believe that he can be a very good tennis player,” said Nadal. “And there’s another thing: It’s impossible to work hard, to work with a real motivation when you don’t believe that you can achieve goals. 

“For this reason, I always believe that he can be a very good tennis player because I wanted to believe. He was good, but I wanted to believe that.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

While he achieved immense success in previous years, a foot injury ended his chance to clinch a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam this year. Can the Spaniard make a strong return in 2022?

WATCH STORY: INSANE: Stats That Show Why Rafael Nadal Is the ‘King of Clay’

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Sanket Nair

642 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT