Toni Nadal: I was hard on Rafa

Rafael Nadal’s uncle and coach, Toni Nadal, says he was hard on his nephew prior to him winning his ninth title at the Monte Carlo Masters event recently and was happy it paid off.

In an interview in Mallorca with Tennis World, Nadal senior said they also worked on Rafa’s mental strength.

“We practice Rafa’s mental strength as well. In life you can practice everything,” said Toni. “I would have not been hard with someone who could not sustain it. I believed in the effort and work, and it paid off.”

Toni, who has coached his nephew since childhood, was asked if he played an important role in the 14-time grand slam winner’s career and answered: “I do not know what to say. In our case, it went well, but other tennis players changed coaches and to they went well too. The best aspect with me was the economic side; there is not a coach who’s cheaper than me.”

Nadal senior acknowledged that the likes of Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic had played a big role in shaping Rafa’s career by making him play better.

“These rivals make you play better but don’t make you better. The number of titles won improves but that does not make you better.

“In the sport, let us not kid ourselves, it’s not about how well you play but how much you win. Without a doubt, I would have preferred that Djokovic, Federer and Andy Murray would not be there.”