"Uncle" Toni Nadal

Toni Nadal, Rafa's uncle, coach and mentor, has always been somewhat of a mercurial figure in the Nadal box.

A man who has had an unparalleled influence on one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

A modest man with a clear set of ideals who accepts no money from Rafa for his coaching success.

But what to we really know about Uncle Toni?

The Nadals are a close family and share an apartment building in Mallorca, Spain. Toni has three brothers including Sebastian Nadal and Miguel Angel Nadal.

Sebastian Nadal is Rafa’s father who owns and manages his own window glass company.

Miguel Angel Nadal
Miguel Angel or the "Beast of Barcelona” is a retired professional football player who played for Mallorca, Barcelona, and the Spain national team. This is one of the reasons why we frequently see Rafa hanging out with the Spanish and Barcelona stars.

Toni Nadal studied law and history at university, but his passion was tennis. He became a Spanish tennis professional with some success in regional and national competitions.

Toni introduced tennis to his nephew Rafael Nadal at the young age of four. One of the first things he taught Rafa was to play left-handed even though he was naturally right-handed. Toni believed this would benefit his double handed backhand.

Toni’s coaching strategy was always based on instilling Rafa with the qualities of hard work, modesty and level-headededness. It is documented that Rafa trained on old courts with bad tennis balls, just to teach him that winning or losing isn’t about the conditions but about attitude, discipline and perspective.

A reader of this blog, Mariah sent us some of Toni's quotes that I believe shed some more light on the character and beliefs of this man. I thought they were quite interesting so I thought I would share them with you. (I make no guarantees about the authenticity of these quotes. Most of them are from Tennis World, French Tennis Magazine and from Chinese SINA).

What triggered your interest in the sport?
Toni: In 1972, I was able to go to the Masters that took place in Barcelona. That year, I saw Ilie Nastase win and he became my idol. So, I started to play in the Tennis Club of Manacor, Rafa’s current club and I’ve been a member since 1974.

Is it true that when he was a kid, you made your nephew believe that you had magical powers?
Toni: Yes (smiles). Rafa was the little boy in the family and everybody always had so much fun with him. As a joke, I made him believe all sorts of things: that I was a star at AC Milan, that I had won the Tour de France five times with a moped (laughs)…Indeed, I also told him that I had magical powers. One day, he must have been about 7 or 8, we lacked a player in the 12-year group to compete in a team event. I took him along with us and to reassure him, I told him that he didn’t need to worry if the match went badly because I have the ability to make it rain. It was winter. So, when the match got tight at the start, it started to rain and then, Rafa turned to me and said: “It’s alright, you can make it stop now, I’m going to win!” Another time, we were watching a match of Ivan Lendl on tv. It was a replay of an older match during which Lendl retired. Rafa didn’t know that. So, at the exact moment when Lendl retired, I told him: “Alright, I’m going to make Lendl lose.” He couldn’t believe his eyes. I have a lot of examples like that.
Many guys out there have five cars, three houses, even a share in a jet. What does Rafa own?
Toni: At the moment, Rafael have nothing. He has not house, because his parents have money and some good houses. He has some cars - one form a sponsor (KIA), one Mercedes he win in Stuttgart. But personally for me is no is no good that young man have a good car. I don’t like to see a young people have things like that.
What do you and Rafa do together, hobby-wise?
Toni: Rafael like fishing very much. Together, we like soccer and golf. 

What role does religion play in your life?
Toni: Zero. I don’t believe. I studied history in university. Religion comes from ignorance in people. Tribal societies, when they see a flash of lightning or something unusual, they say it come from the Magician. But when society move forward, and technology discover more, religion goes in the back. For me, is very important to be moral – to be good person. But not religion.

When you think back to those moments and you look at him now with his incredible achievements, isn’t it you who can’t believe your eyes now? 

Toni: I am surprised by his career, yes. Because I look around us and I see a lot of players who are just as good as he is: Murray, Djokovic, Gasquet, for example…These are players who perhaps have an easier touch of the ball. And yet, Rafa has by far the best career. So, you ask me whether I’m surprised. Yes, I am. I’ll go even further, I don’t understand it.
But don’t you think that Rafa has something more than the others in this regard? 
Toni: Perhaps so, yes. He has an incredible game intensity and a good mentality. I think that he has a better mental control than the others.

At the start of his career, a lot of people said: “his game is too intense, it won’t last…”
Toni: (interrupts) But a lot of people talk without understanding what they’re talking about.When he arrived on tour, he was very young and not really ready for all of it....... All year long, Rafa had to play against adults whereas he was just a boy. In those circumstances, the only thing he could do on court was to run and to run everywhere. It’s true that in the beginning of his career, he did nothing but that. However, this is the image that has stuck with him often without people noticing that gradually, his game was evolving. Today, if you really look at him, he doesn’t run any more than the other players on court. Just look at the Roland Garros final and you will see that Rafa ran much less than Söderling. Same when you look at the semi-final in Wimbledon against Murray but in a different context. That must mean that his tennis is good, no? If Rafa had started out on tour later than he has, when he was already fully formed, people would surely not have said this about him.

Are a man like you and a youngster like Rafael comfortable, culturally, at a place like Wimbledon?
Toni: Well, I have a different concept of life. I believe that all these formalities are just because of where it is, and I understand it. But I like a more normal life, and I think Rafael is a more normal person.
For example, Moya is a very kind person, a good person, but he was here and when he need a car I see that he told his coach, “Phone for the driver.” When you get used to doing nothing for yourself, it’s too easy. With Rafael, I say in that situation, do it yourself. It’s better. This was my work with him.


Betting On Wimbledon

We have just begun the two most important week of tennis in many tennis fans eyes, but most certainly in the eyes of online bookmakers. Wimbledon is well known as the most prestigious of the 4 Grand Slam tennis tournaments and this fact along with the betting culture that is the United Kingdom make for a great deal of tennis betting over the course of this tournament.

The Women’s side of the draw is very up in the air this year with the Wimbledon sisters and Sharapova leading the way as the top 3 contenders according to the oddsmakers, while Na Li and Petra Kvitova are close behind. On the Men’s side the tournament will surely be won by one of the big 4 and this is evident with the oddsmakers giving the 5th highest contenders (del Potro and Roddick) 40/1 odds to be crowned champion. Nadal and Federer are each at the top of the heap with 11/5 odds, while Djokovic isn’t far behind with odds of 7/2, while Murray is also given a fighting chance at 5/1. It will be interesting to see how the top Men’s players shake out come the semi-finals. Personally I took Federer with as my outright winner bet on Wimbledon 2011.

If you are a tennis bettor then Wimbledon is the perfect time of year to sign up at various online bookmakers. Bookies will often have special Wimbledon promotions on that you can take advantage of! On top of this it is always smart to have an account at a few different online sportsbooks in order to compare odds and make sure you getting the best bang for your buck. A few cents on the dollar here and there can really add up over the long run.

The 2011 Wimbledon tournament is sure to be an exciting affair. Will Federer be able to tie Sampras’ record of 7 Wimbledon titles and improve his own record of Grand Slam championships? Will Nadal be able to repeat as Wimbledon champion and try to repeat his Grand Slam success from a year ago. Will Djokovic be able to win his second Grand Slam of the season and keep his loss total at only 1. Or will Andy Murray be able to come up with the upset in front of his home fans? Lots of question on the Men’s side and there are even more on the Women’s. The best thing about these questions is that you can bet on each one!

Wimbledon 2011 watching online

You can watch and bet on Wimbledon matches live and free in good quality. 

1. Click here to register on Bet365.  It is absolutely free. Registration takes 2 minutes...

2. After you registered, deposit any amount in your account, go to the Bet365 site and at the top of the page find the "Live Streaming" option. Click on it.

3. Live stream will start a few minutes before the event starts.

Watch French Open Live Stream Free

Watch French Open 2011 Live Stream Free.

Watch you favourite tennis stars battle it out for one of the biggest prizes in tennis. Watch Federer, Djokovic and Nadal live from Roland Garros. The video live streaming is free to access

How to watch live tennis from Paris?

French Open 2011 Live Stream Free, Live and Online on the Tennis Channel