“Would Be Showing a Lack of Respect”: How Uncle Toni Stopped Rafael Nadal From Smashing Racquet

Published 08/02/2021, 6:52 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)


World No.3 Rafael Nadal embodies the qualities of perseverance, a never-say-die attitude, and most important, humility, which make him the right example for aspiring tennis players to follow. Over his illustrious career, Nadal has never thrown a racquet, no matter how frustrating the situation has been.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

However, the person who has played the most influential role in instilling the right values in Nadal has been his uncle and long-time coach, Toni Nadal. Interestingly, in an interview, Toni Nadal spoke about the reason his nephew has never smashed a racquet.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 17: Rafael Nadal of Spain talks with coach Toni Nadal during a practice session ahead of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 17, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Toni Nadal on why Rafael Nadal never threw a racquet

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Having introduced tennis to his nephew at an early age, Toni warned Rafael never to break a racquet, since it would be a huge disrespect to the millions of kids who cannot afford one.

“You throw one racket and I’m no longer your coach. There are millions of kids in the world who would love a racket and don’t have one,” said Toni, to his six-year-old nephew.

According to Toni, it was this lesson that stayed on with his nephew, because of which he has never thrown a racquet despite spending three decades on the court.

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)

Even in the most disappointing circumstances, whether it’s suffering an injury during the match or failing to compete up to the potential, Nadal has kept his composure, regardless.

“Nadal has never broken a racquet. It would be showing a lack of respect to people who actually have to buy the equipment to play the sport,” said Toni.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Apart from his astronomical success, Nadal’s character, an athlete who always remains humble in victory and gracious in defeat, has made him one of the most loved athletes in the world.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion’s ability to channelize his frustration, without smashing racquets or hurling abuses, and turn it into his strength, certainly makes him an outstanding role model for the kids.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Kshitij Tayal

464 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT