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Old 04-20-2005, 03:16 PM   #1
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El entorno, lo mejor de Rafa
Por Jordi Arrese

Qué hace diferente a Rafa Nadal del resto de los tenistas? Tengo muy claro que lo que marca la diferencia es el entorno, la familia que le ha dado una educación exquisita, y un tío, Toni que, además es su preparador, y le dice las cosas tal como son. Nadal es un chaval de 18 años, humilde, sencillo que, gracias a esa educación, valora todo en la vida y está pendiente de que todo el mundo esté a gusto. Los tenistas, por lo general, de por sí se vuelven egocéntricos, y llegan a ser mimados por todo el mundo. Les dan casi todo hecho y encuentran todas las cosas fáciles. Si el entrenador fuera el que pagara, seguramente serían mejores y más fuertes de lo que suelen ser.

Con Nadal no pasa eso. Desde su entorno no han entrado afortunadamente en esta dinámica. Lo tratan como a un chaval de 18 años, sea o no campeón, cuando él razona como uno de 25 años. Lo educan para la vida y potencian esa parte salvaje que tiene y que, para mí, han convertido a Rafa en el jugador mentalmente más fuerte del mundo junto con el australiano Lleyton Hewitt.

Para mí no es una sorpresa que Nadal se presente en el Tenis Barcelona entre los once primeros del mundo. Desde que tenía 14 años ya dije que Nadal iba a ser un número uno, y creo que si no hubiese sido por la lesión que sufrió el año pasado, que lo apartó de la temporada de tierra, Rafa estaría en lo más alto. Porque antes de esa lesión había demostrado que podía ganar a todo un número uno como Roger Federer.

Pero Rafa todavía tiene mucho margen por delante para mejorar. Creo que tras cada torneo que juega, tras cada partido que gana, tras cada título que obtiene, Rafa Nadal es mejor jugador y persona, donde para mí merece un 10.

Rafa Nadal es, además, un buen jugador de equipo, que será muy útil al tenis español. Con su forma de ser, con su personalidad, con esa humildad y sencillez que tiene, Rafa ha conseguido que no haya un tenista que no quiera que gane; el que no lo desea es porque no tiene un buen corazón.

The environment, the best thing about Rafa
By Jordi Arrese

What does Rafa Nadal do differently to the other tennis players? I can clearly see that what makes the difference is his environment, his family who has given him an excellent education, and an uncle, Toni, who is also his coach, and he tells him things straight. Nadal is a young lad of 18, humble, simple, who, thanks to that education, appreciates everything in life, always makes sure everyone else is ok. In general, tennis players at the best of times become egocentric and they get mollycoddled by everyone. Everything is pretty much done for them and they find things very easy. If it were the coach who was the one paying, they'd definitely be better and stronger than what they usually are.

With Nadal, that doesn't happen. Fortunately, in his environment, they have not become involved with this sort of dynamic. They treat him like a young lad of 18, champion or not, when he speaks like a 25 year old. They educate him in life skills and strengthen that wild part of him that for me, have made Rafa the strongest player in the world mentally along with the Australian, Lleyton Hewitt.

It doesn't surprise me that Nadal is coming to the Barcelona tourament being in the top 11. Since he was 14, I always said Nadal was going to be number 1, and I think that if it hadn't been for his injury last year, which forced him out of the clay season, Rafa would be even higher. Because before that injury, he had shown he could beat a #1 like Roger Federer.

But Rafa still has a lot of room for improvement. I think that after every tournament he plays, after every match he wins, after every title he gets, Rafa Nadal is a better player and person and for me he deserves a 10.

Rafa Nadal is also a great team member, which will be very useful to Spanish tennis. With the way he is, his personality, his humility and simplicity, Rafa has made it such that there is no player who doesn't want him to win. For those that don't want him to win, it's because they don't have a good heart.

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Old 04-20-2005, 03:45 PM   #2
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Great article! Thanks
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Old 04-20-2005, 03:46 PM   #3
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Very nice article!!! Thanks Emilita!
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Good luck also to:
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Old 04-20-2005, 07:33 PM   #4
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I love that article Thank you!!
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Old 04-21-2005, 03:36 AM   #5
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thanks for the article, i am curious if any one knows Rafael is still at school i guess he already quit right, otherwise how can he has time to travel around the world to play the tourneys
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Old 04-21-2005, 05:30 AM   #6
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thanks for the article!

He said he quit school... there was no way he could do both
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Old 04-21-2005, 06:37 AM   #7
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awesome article
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Old 04-24-2005, 06:00 AM   #8
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I didn't know where to post this, I guess this is the place... today i went to buy "solo tenis" magazine (from Argentina) and Rafa is in the cover
inside there's a poster of him and Federer.
Here's the cover...
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File Type: gif solo tenis cover.gif (96.2 KB, 41 views)
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Old 04-24-2005, 03:08 PM   #9
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nice cover! Thanks!
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Old 04-24-2005, 05:43 PM   #10
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Article from The Independent:
http://news.independent.co.uk/people...p?story=632470

Rafael Nadal: Sleight of hand as Rafa-lution sweeps the world of tennis

For once tennis has bounced football off the front pages. Ronald Atkin in Barcelona speaks to a clay-court prince keen to show grass distinction.

24 April 2005

An incredible thing has happened in Barcelona over the past few days. The faces of Ronaldinho and his Nou Camp team-mates have been swept from their accustomed position on the front pages of the city's multiple daily sports papers and replaced by that of an 18-year-old tennis player. Nadal Mania has hit town.

Spain was already in love with Rafael Nadal after he won the crucial singles for his nation in last December's Davis Cup final against the United States, but the romance has soared to giddy heights as the teenager from Mallorca capped what is already a fantastic year by winning the Masters Series title in Monte Carlo and climbing to 11th in the world rankings.

Last Sunday, 24 hours before the Godo tournament got under way on the manicured acres of the Real Tenis Club de Barcelona, the magazine Tenis A Fondo put on display a thousand posters of Nadal at their sales kiosk to give away as inducements to buy the publication. They were gone inside an hour.

Nadal's first emergence from the clubhouse en route to a doubles match was a revelation. He was followed by a gaggle of adoring, beautifully dressed people of an age to have known better, and greeted outside, almost reverently, by kids whose only wish was to touch him as he passed.

Nadal's arrival in the city could not have offered clearer indication of the young man's attitude and commitment. After Sunday's victory ceremony in Monte Carlo, the family Nadal - Rafael and his uncles, his coach, Toni, and Miguel Angel, his fitness trainer - made the journey back to Spain by car, arriving in Barcelona at 4am on Monday. By 8am, Nadal was breakfasting with Pedro Muñoz, president of the Spanish Tennis Federation, who calls him "a model of comportment", and, at noon, he was taking part in a sponsor's clinic for children at the Real Tenis Club. When approached by tournament officials with the suggestion that, after Monte Carlo, he might like to withdraw from the doubles, he simply said: "Are you crazy?"

As if he hadn't already crammed enough into 24 hours, the boy known to everyone as "Rafa" was happy to sit down afterwards and talk about the wondrous things that have been happening to him of late.

"I don't spend a lot of time thinking about what I have achieved at 18," he said, swigging a soft drink straight from the can. "But, if I don't win another match this year, I will have accomplished the goal I set in January of getting into the top 20 in 2005.

"Last year, I reached my first goal of winning an ATP tournament at Sopot [in August]. Then, this year, I won the Brazil and Mexico Opens back to back in February. So, to win again in Monte Carlo, and to beat a great clay-court player like Guillermo Coria in the final, was a huge moment.

"Winning the Davis Cup for Spain made me very happy, but this is incredible, my first big singles title. It is a key moment in my career, but I am only too aware that there will be bad moments to come. I won't always be able to play like that. It is not normal to win the sort of matches I have been winning, and I know a bad patch will come, so it is important to maintain the form I'm in now for as long as I can."

Nadal, who has now won 34 of his 40 matches this year, did not drop a set in reaching this afternoon's Barcelona final where he will meet the man who preceded him as Spain's tennis pin-up, Juan Carlos Ferrero. After a week's rest, he will head for the Masters Series tournaments in Rome and Hamburg before making his debut at the French Open. It is a prospect he relishes, since, in each of the past two seasons, injuries, first to an elbow and then, last year, a stress fracture of the left ankle, kept him away from Paris. Even last January at the Australian Open, Nadal was busy working out what he might need to do to earn a seeding for his French debut. Now there is no need to fret about such matters.

"After last year's injury, which kept me out from April to July, things are going well again, but I know very well that one moment of ill fortune and everything can change. So far, I have managed to avoid such moments. I don't know if I'll still be playing like this in a month's time, so my priority is to maintain form and stay fit."

Clay is the natural playing surface for a youngster brought up in the town of Manacor, on the island of Mallorca , but Nadal insists his main Grand Slam target is Wimbledon, which has only once been won by a Spaniard, Manuel Santana in 1966, not only because it is the world's No 1 event but also because of the challenge it presents. "I want to do well on grass because it is a very special surface, so different to all the others," he said. "Not many players from Spain have done well there, so that is an extra motivation for me."

On his Wimbledon debut in 2003, Rafa defeated Tim Henman's nemesis, Mario Ancic, and then Britain's Lee Childs to become, at 17 years and three weeks, the youngest to reach the third round since the 16-year-old Boris Becker in 1984.

The ankle damage which caused him to miss Wimbledon in 2004 was sustained in April during a tournament in Estoril, apparently because of unsuitable footwear. So keen was Nadal to keep fit until he could run again that he practised for hours sitting on a stool and, a month after his return, had won the Sopot clay-court title.

Nowadays, no risks are taken about things like tennis shoes by a family who guard their prize product closely by the simple expedient of living alongside him. In a house looking out on to the massive, 18th-century church in Manacor, a town of 20,000, grandparents Rafael and Isabel are installed on the ground floor. The first floor is occupied by Uncle Toni, his wife and three daughters, and the second floor by his parents, Sebastien, the owner of a double-glazing factory, and Anna Maria. The top floor is the domain of Rafa and his sister, Maria Isabel.

Toni Nadal, his coach, is a former tennis professional, while his other uncle, the 39-year-old, Miguel Angel, is one of Mallorca's most famous sportsmen, having played nine years for Barcelona and been a member of Spain's 2002 World Cup squad. Rafa came close to following Miguel Angel into football. "He was undecided for a long time whether to play tennis or football," said the uncle, "but, when he started to win all these junior tournaments, it convinced him he had a bigger guarantee of success in tennis. Rafa also has another problem. In tennis, you are your own boss, you make your own decisions. In football, it's the coach who does that. Rafa didn't like that very much."

One massive decision was made for the young Nadal by Uncle Toni. Rafa is a natural right-hander, but Toni was convinced his two-fisted backhand would be helped by using the stronger right arm. So he taught his nephew to play and serve left-handed, to such effect that Lleyton Hewitt calls Nadal's forehand "exceptional".

Wickedly top-spun forehands of lethal pace have been drawing gasps from the Barcelona crowds. To the young people in the audience, however, Nadal's gear is on a par with his shots. The shirt is a garish orangey-yellow, sleeveless with black piping. Though the calf-length white shorts and broad white headband lend a piratical air, the tightness of his trousers is more in keeping with a matador's uniform, though any lack of comfort doesn't show in his whirlwind tennis.

To describe Nadal as exciting would be a serious understatement. Pedro Hernandez, the editor of Tenis A Fondo, has followed his career since the earliest days and says: "He has the spirit, the talent, the fight, the brains. He has everything, and he will be better than most Spaniards because he can play on all surfaces. He is not big-headed but he is very confident and he wants to compete at everything. He will even challenge you to a sandwich-eating contest."

His doubles partner, Feliciano Lopez, reckons Nadal is already the No 1 on clay, while Albert Costa, the Roland Garros champion in 2002, says: "Rafa is in another world. He is able to aspire to whatever he wants and he will probably get it." The Spanish greats concur. Manuel Orantes predicts Nadal will become the best-ever Spaniard, Santana says he is "an authentic phenomenon" and Andres Gimeno, French Open champion of 1972, is certain Nadal will be the world No 1 within a year.

The youngster, who likes to make practice more demanding by having four opponents in the opposite court at the same time, does not buy that last prediction. "I see myself a long way from being No 1. Many players aspire to that, and Roger Federer is a long way in front of everyone.

"All I know is that, if I want to get there one day, I will have to improve," said the teenager, who beat Federer in Miami last year and took him to five sets at the same tournament in this year's final.

"My only thought every day is to become better. My intention is to give 100 per cent every time I play. Sometimes I will win, sometimes lose, but I can always go to sleep knowing I have done my best. I always play with the same humility."

And he might add, with enough eye-catching talent to keep Ronaldinho off the front pages.

Biography

Rafael Nadal-Parera

Born: 3 June 1986 in Manacor, Mallorca.

Family: parents Sebastian and Ana Maria, sister Maria, aged 14.

Current rankings: ATP Race - 2nd. ATP Entry - 11th.

Career progression: turned pro 2001. End of 2002: 235th. End of 2003: 49th. End of 2004: 51st. Began playing at four; current coach is Toni Nadal, his uncle. Other: favourite player is Carlos Moya. Managed by Carlos Costa, IMG.

Hobbies: football, PlayStation, fishing and watching films.

Wimbledon watch: on his All England debut in 2003, beat Mario Ancic en route to reaching the third round, the youngest to do so since Boris Becker in 1984.
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Old 04-25-2005, 01:13 PM   #11
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OMC!! The Little Guy is the new Spanish No.1


! WOW!

Moya dropped to 9th
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Old 04-25-2005, 02:15 PM   #12
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Including the pics here's the Iberia article.



Iberia Magzine April 2004 (of course the statistics here aren't right anymore )

RAFAEL NADAL: "I FEEL VERY PRIVILEGED BECAUSE I'M HAPPY WITH WHAT I DO"


When players of the stature of Carlos Moya or Juan Carlos Ferrero are still at the height of their careers, this 18-year-old from Manacor in Mallorca has become the man to watch in Spanish tennis.

His list of achievements include three tournament wins as well as a Davis Cup won in December. This run of successes has placed him 31st in the world rankings and 6th in the annual ranking.



*Aren't you frightened by such rapid progress?
RAFA: Not at all. Since I was little I have alwasy stood out from the crowd and this is a situation that you have to accept. It's good luck.

*What would you have done if you hadn't become a tennis player?
Rafa: I would have liked to be a footballer

*How would you describe yourself?
Rafa:As a normal kid who lives in Mallorca and who spends little time at home because of his profession. A boy like any other who likes to play golf, fish and have fun with his friends.

*Do you think that you are priviliged?
Rafa: Of course. I'm lucky to be able to work at what I like and that things are going my way.

*Now that you are famous do you like being stopped in the street or does it bother you?
Rafa: Neither one nor the other. I accept it and I try to treat people kindly and with modesty.

*Do you think that your popularity could go to your head?
Rafa: I don't think so. I have my feet on the ground. Maybe some people think I am conceited, but that is because they don't know me. When they get to know me, they realise that I am just an ordinary guy.

*You Have now won nearly one million euros just in prizes. Are you worried about the future?
Rafa: Not at all. I never notice what I earn. I"m young and I think I have many years ahead to secure my future.

*Is it true that you don't have any idols?
Rafa: I don't admire anyone in particular. Well, maybe the only one is Fernando Alonso, a great racing driver and he's the sportsman I follow most.

*What are your goals in tennis?
Rafa: To go on improving and to go as high as possible. That is why I work one hundred per cent.

*What defects do you have to eliminate to improve?
Rafa: Especially my serve and short backhand. Oh and I do have to make my shots more accurate.

*To what do you attribute your succes?
Rafa: Especially to work. I practise tennis for 3 and a half hours every day and work out for an hour and a half. obviously, my natural talents also have an influence, something of a genetic origin. My coach, my uncle Toni, has had a great influence on me.

*You're an example of precocity. This is because you were the youngest Davis Cup Champion at 18 years and 187 days, surpassing Pat Cash's 1983 record of 18 years and 215 days. Have you ever seen yourself as a child prodigy?
Rafa: No. Things happen this way. I have to thank my family for my normality. The family has always helped me a lot and given me the right mentality.

*What do you feel when you win a Davis Cup?
Rafa: It's an incridible feeling. Nothing like anything I have done before. I have always said that after winning the four Grand Slams it's the highest thing that a tennis plyer can aspire to.

*After this year's fiasco, will Spain win the cup again?
Rafa: There's always a chance. Spain is a great tennis power and we have some very good players. The thing is to have luck in the draw and be able to play at home.

*You were a junior semi-finalist at Wimbledon and reached the third round in the seniors event. Does this mean that you don't fear grass?
Rafa: I don't mind playing on this surface. Feliciano Lopez, Moya and Ferrero have shone on grass in the past few years and I believe that I can also do well, although as I couldn't go last year I have almost forgotten what it's like.

*What does a star like Carlos Moya mean to you?
Rafa: Apart from being a good friend, he's a great guy. An example to follow. He's modest, friendly and has helped me a lot. When I joined the Circuit I didn't know anybody and he introduced me to other players and trained with me when I was an unknown.

*What is the thing you like least?
Rafa: Without a doubt, travelling, continuously moving from one point to another.

*Great football fan and a confessed supporter of Real Madrid, although your uncle was a die-hard Barcelona follower. Would you have exchanged your Davis Cup triumph for a decisive goal in a league championship football final?
Rafa: They are very different things, without any possible comparison. There's no doubt that it would be exciting to score a decisive goal in a final, but I wouldn't change places. I am happy with what I do.

*Spanish fans will be able to see you at the Conde de Godó Trophy in Barcelona from 18 to 24 April. What does this competition mean to you?
It's a very important tournament played at home and the major competition in Spain along with the Madrid Tournament. I'd be delighted to play well there.........

Undoubtedly fans enjoy the fighting spirit, power and quality of this young player who seems to be destined for the highest spots in world tennis***
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Rafa 1193 ibmag0405.jpg (51.0 KB, 87 views)
File Type: jpg Rafa 1194 ibmag0405.jpg (37.7 KB, 68 views)
File Type: jpg Rafa 1195 ibmag0405.jpg (34.4 KB, 71 views)
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Old 04-25-2005, 02:47 PM   #13
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thanks for the interesting articles guys!!!
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Old 04-25-2005, 03:01 PM   #14
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Love the pictures from the magazine!!! Gracias...thanks so much for posting those!!!
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Old 04-25-2005, 04:30 PM   #15
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Default Re: >> Rafa news and articles <<

a sweet article from El Mundo that i've translated for u...

Toni Nadal, el hombre que forjó al campeón

Después de Rafa, no se plantea entrenar a ningún tenista más

Ángela Lara / BARCELONA


25/04/05 03:00 h.Rafa Nadal dedicó su triunfo en la final del Open Seat Godó a su tío y entrenador Toni, así como a todos sus familiares, algunos de los cuales, como su padre Sebastián o el hermano de éste, Miguel Ángel, presenciaron en directo la final. “Sin él no podría haber hecho esto”, dijo el mallorquín en refencia a su preparador. Y no es para menos, ya que Toni Nadal fue su decubridor y quien se hizo cargo de su preparación desde que cogiera la raqueta por primera vez.

De casta le viene al galgo

Toni Nadal era de aquellos niños que, en su etapa como escolar, dedicaba el tiempo libre a practicar deporte, daba igual cual fuera, el caso era hacer deporte. El segundo de cinco hermanos, Toni hizo gala desde pequeño de sus dotes deportivas para destacar en varias dispciplinas. Estudiante en un internado en Palma, se proclamó varias veces campeón balear de ping pong, a pesar de que acabó encarrilando su vida profesional hacia el tenis.

En el aspecto académico, Toni no era tan aplicado como para los deportes y dejó a medias dos carreras, la de derecho y la de historia, por lo que, finalmente no se sacó niguna licenciatura. Durante los años ochenta jugó a tenis en la Segunda Categoría Nacional y, años después, empezó a ejercer de entrenador en un club en Manacor, su ciudad natal.

Como si por obra y gracia de un gen familiar se tratase, su hermano Miguel Ángel también se decantó por el mundo del deporte, en su caso, por el futbol, triunfando en equipos como la selección española o el F.C. Barcelona, mientras que en la actualidad milita en las filas del R.C.D. Mallorca. Ahora es el turno de la siguiente generación. Su Sobrino Rafa, con tan solo 18 años, está triunfando en el mundo del tenis y, como no podía ser de otra manera, Toni fue su descubridor y ahora su entrenador.

“A Rafa le gustaba mucho el tenis y el fútbol, pero como vivía cerca del club donde yo entrenaba, vino un día y se empezó a aficionar”, explica Toni. Enseguida, el joven tenista mallorquín corroboró aquel dicho de que “la genética nunca falla” y pronto empezó a despuntar en ambos deportes. Toni asegura que “desde el primer día vi las condiciones de Rafa. Desde pequeño fue ganando todos lo torneos de su edad a todos los niveles. Así, cuando cumplió los 11 años, me dediqué en exclusiva a él”, añadió.

A tan corta edad, el técnico mallorquín vio claras las dotes tenísticas de Rafa y asumió el doble rol de tío y entrenador. “Nuestra relación familiar lo hace todo fácil; además, Rafa es uno de los jugadores más fáciles de llevar de todo el circuito: es obediente, respetuoso...”, reconoce Toni. Pero, esta situación también conlleva sus inconvenientes y obligaciones extra. “Por un lado, en los partidos me pongo más nervioso que el resto de entrenadores, porque lo veo más como familiar que como preparador”, señala el segundo de los hermanos Nadal, quien añade: “Además, como tío, tengo la responsabilidad de educarle, porque pasamos muchas horas juntos desde que él tenía cuatro años”. Para Toni, ante todo, lo más importante es la formación de su sobrino como persona y los éxitos deportivos son algo circunstancial. Su objetivo es inculcar a Rafa “responsabilidad, humildad y agradecimiento a la vida”.

El tenis se acaba con Rafa

Sin comerlo ni beberlo, la buena progresión deportiva de su sobrino en el circuito tenístico metió a Toni en el ritmo frenético de la competición, algo que, en un principio, ni siquiera entraba en sus planes. “Me gusta estar en casa e ira a algunos torneos, pero no dedicarme 'full time'”, admite el entrenador del campeón del Gódó.

Por ello, cuando finalice su labor con Rafa, Toni no tiene previsto dedicarse a la preparación de otros tenistas. “Después de Rafa, no me planteo seguir. No vivo del tenis, tengo negocios a medias con su padre”, explica. Y es que, de espíritu hogareño y con tres hijos pequeños en casa, Toni no acaba de llevar muy bien lo de estar casi todo el año viajando de un sitio a otro, donde le lleve la competición. “Me gusta conocer sitios nuevos, por eso procuro hacer turismo en las ciudades que visitamos, pero también me gusta la vida tranquila. Además, tengo tres hijos”, destaca el técnico mallorquín. Por todo ello, Toni reconoce que no le entusiasma la idea de que sus retoños puedan dedicarse algún día al tenis de forma profesional. “Juegan a tenis, pero como hobby. Puestos a ser deportistas profesionales, preferiría que se dedicasen al futbol”, bromeó.

El futbol, motivo de debate

Si el deporte es uno de los denominadores comunes de la familia Nadal, el futbol, concretamente, puede convertirse en un motivo de discusión. Esta familia, muy bien avenida y ejemplo de unidad, se divide en dos bandos en lo relativo al deporte rey. Mientras la mitad de sus miembros son seguidores del Real Madrid, la otra mitad defiende los colores azul y grana de la camiseta del Barcelona. Miguel Ángel Nadal fue jugador barcelonista, por lo que encabeza el sector seguidor de este equipo, en el que se encuentra el propio Toni. Rafa, por su parte, es la cabeza visible de los madridistas



Toni Nadal, the man who formed the champion

After Rafa, he doesn't contemplate coaching any other player

Rafa Nadal dedicated his victory in the Open Seat Godó to his uncle and coach, Toni, as well as to all his family, some of whom like his father Sebastian or Sebastian's brother, Miguel Angel, were live at the final. "Without him I could not have done this", the Majorcan said referring to his coach and rightly so, since Toni Nadal was the one who discovered him and who was in charge of his preparation right from when he first held a racquet.

It's in the genes

Toni Nadal was one of this kids who, during his time as a student, dedicated his free time to playing sport, regardless of what sport it was, the point was just to do sport. The second of 5 brothers, Toni showed off his sporting talents from a young age, shining in various sports. A boarding school student in Palma, he was the Balear ping pong champion several times, even though he ended up turning his professional life towards tennis.

In the academic sphere, Toni wasn't as conscientious as he was when it came to sports, and he left 2 careers half done, one in law and the other in history, in which he didn't end up getting a degree. During the 80s he played tennis in the Second National Category and, years later, started being a coach at a club in Manacor, his home town.

As if it were thanks to a family gene, his brother Miguel Angel also opted for the world of sport and, in his case, for football, being successful in teams like the Spanish national team and FC Barcelona, while he currently helps out at the RCD Mallorca team. Now it's the second generation's turn. His nephew, Rafa, at just 18, his triumphing in the world of tennis and, like it couldn't be any other way, Toni was his discoverer and is now his coach.

"Rafa loved tennis and football a lot, but since he lived close to the club where I coached, he came one day and started to like it," Toni explains. Immediately, the young Majorcan tennis player lived up to the saying that "genes never fail" and he soon started to shine in both sports. Toni assures us that "ever since the first day, I saw Rafa's condition. At a young age he was winning all the tournaments of his age group at all levels. So, when he turned 11, I dedicated myself completely to him", he added.

At such a young age, the Majorcan coach saw Rafa's clear tennis talent and took on the double role of being uncle and coach. "Our family relation makes everything easy; what's more, Rafa is one of the easiest players to take around the tour: he's obedient, respectful...". Toni recognises. But, this situation also has its disadvantages and extra obligations. "On one hand, in the matches, I get more nervous than the rest of the coaches, because I see it more as a family member than as a coach", the second of the Nadal brothers indicates, and adds: "What's more, as an uncle, I also have the responsability of educating him, because we've spent a lot of time together since he was 4 years old". For Toni, above all, the most important thing is his nephew's education as a person and the sporting successes are something incidental. His goal is to instil into Rafa "responsability, humility and appreciation of life".

Tennis ends with Rafa

Without really knowing how, his nephew's great rise in professional tennis thrust Toni into the frenzy that is competition, something that, at first, hadn't even entered into his plans. "I like to be at home and go to some tournaments, but not dedicate myself "full time"", the Godó champion's coach admits.

That's why, when he finishes working with Rafa, Toni doesn't plan to dedicate himself to coaching other tennis players. "After Rafa, I'm not thinking of continuing. I don't live off tennis, I have half negotiations with his father", he explains. And it's such that, being a homebody with 3 small children at home, Toni doesn't end up liking travelling almost the whole year from one place to another, wherever the competition takes him. "I like to see new places, that's why I try to do some sightseeing in the cities we go to, but I also like the quiet life. I also have 3 children", the Majorcan coach points out. For all that, Toni admits he's not wild on the idea of his kids one day dedicating themselves to professional tennis. "They play tennis, but as a hobby. If they had to be professional athletes, I'd prefer them to play football", he joked.

Football, reason for debate

If sport is one of the common denominators in the Nadal family, football, definitely, can become a cause of discussion. This family, very close and an example of unity, divides into 2 when it comes to the king sport. While half its members are fans of Real Madrid, the other half defend the azul grana colours of Barcelona. Miguel Angel Nadal was a Barcelona player, so he leads the followers of this group, in which Toni is also a part. Rafa is, however, the head of the Madrid supporters.
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Last edited by ~EMiLiTA~ : 04-25-2005 at 04:34 PM.
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