Toni Nadal: I wish people knew what Rafael was trying to do

Matt King/Getty Images AsiaPac
Matt King/Getty Images AsiaPac

The Australian Open has been over for two full days now, but the look of pain on Rafa’s face, and the tears he shed whilst apologizing to the crowd for not being able to deliver a good performance, will resonate with those of us who love Rafa and not just his achievements. The sound of the crowd booing him may always ring in our minds. We will take comfort in knowing that we are not alone; Chris Bradnam, ex British tennis player and Eurosport commentator, described Rafa getting booed as the “worst sound in tennis,” very aptly so.

The vociferous Toni Nadal spoke to The Australian about his nephew’s plight on the night of the match, and true to form, he did not mince his words.

“Just my opinion, but I don’t think the crowd should be doing this.

“Rafael has always given his best at this tournament, all tournaments. He tries to treat all of the people with respect.

“He had to continue. He knows that people have paid money for tickets to be here for the match, the grand slam final. He knows a lot of people are seeing the television. He does not want them to have, how do I say, the stopped show.

“Whatever happens to his body, he will finish for them. The crowd here had always been very good for him and Rafael will not complain about no thing, ever.

“But he is disappointed, of course. I wish it had not been like this for him. He wanted to play for the crowd and if he was not going to win, he wanted Wawrinka to be winning a match point. Not shaking hands when a match is stopped. This is important.”

“The crowd did not know what was happening, I see this. But I think if you do not know something for sure, why say anything?

“Rafael enjoys this tournament, he enjoys this crowd, he loves Rod Laver court. There are good memories here. But I wish people knew what Rafael was trying to do.

“The crowd goes here and there with what they think. They go up and down. Sometimes the crowd don’t think, maybe. They are allowed to be whatever they want, but they should know that Rafael played for them. He knows that if he cannot win, he must finish for the crowd.

“I think they should think about this. He had spirit, I would say, to finish.”

In his post-match interview, Rafa gave full benefit of the doubt to the crowd, saying that he was proud of the way he was treated and supported. An epitome of sportsmanship; and also perhaps why it hurts so much to have it questioned.

Rafa will be back at AO 2015. Meanwhile, stay tuned for another winning season!

All quotes: Crowd’s boos add to pain for Rafael Nadal, says coach Toni by Will Swanton, Click on link for full story. 


  1. I apologise on behalf of those who booed you Rafa. They were embarrassing and obviously don’t know your morals and work ethics. You are a true champion.

  2. Rafa, we all know that u r a champion of champions.. it was really hard to see u go down they way u did at d AO final. But on the flipside, it shows dat u r such a gr8 gentleman. U knew dat chances of winning d match were slim, yet u continued for the crowd and wawrinka.. Indeed u are one awe inspiring champion and I dare say this dat you are far better than Fed or anybody.. Vamos Rafa.. a huge huge Indian fan.. all d best

  3. My son plays tennis and rugby, his name is Rawhiti, everyone calls him Rafa, because it’s easier to say instead of Rawhiti. He has the same passing shots as you. As a family, we love you Rafa, and you always give your best. The crowd that night, the ones that booed you should all hang their heads in shame. They need to learn compassion and humility.

  4. Rafa was a true champion playing through the pain he was feeling. To do this took a lot of courage and reserve. His effort will never be forgotten. Bravo Rafa, Vamos!!! Stanimal was waiting for a long time for this championship. I’m sure Roger was gnashing his teeth. Oh, well. Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose, sometimes it rains.

    Bravo Rafa!!!

  5. To Rafael,
    as an australian, I am ashamed for what the crowd did. It was a disgrace. Everyone should have realised there was a problem. I was shocked that happened. You are a person of integrity and would never do anything untoward against another player or anyone else for that matter.
    I apologise for your pain. wish you speedy recovery and can’t wait for your next venture

  6. Rafa, I became a fan on the word go. Just know that many Malaysians love you. You are a super great tennis player and a fantastic athlete. I hated it when they boo you but we know they boo you cos they are jealous of your greatness. Go forth and conquer. We will continue to cheer for you from this side of the globe. GO RAFA GO.

  7. The crowd was truly classless! While I live in the USA, I apologize for them and their reprehensible behavior. IMO, Stan was no better.

    Get well soon, Rafa! Tennis needs you!

  8. As an Australian and Rafa fan I would like to state that Rafa has many fans here who are very aware of his magnificent achievements and who were crying with him on Sunday night. The truth is that the prohibitive price of tickets to matches at Rod Laver Arena,, especially to the finals, means that the stadium will always contain many people who are there because they are rich, work for sponsors or because they want to say they were there. In other words, people who are not true tennis fans. For those of us who love tennis and Rafa, it was deeply embarrassing to hear Rafa being booed by the crowd, and I too, would not be surprised if Rafa decided not to come back next year. I can only hope that he remembers that he still has many fans here who follow his career throughout every year, cheering on from a great distance. Please don’t tar all Australians with the same brush!

  9. Rafa you are always amazing and your suffering should have been appreciated for the good deed you were doing. No one likes to win a huge match on retirement! It would have been bitter sweet either way. Rafa was injured, it was there for all to see, he didn’t even bother with some returns and could hardly serve. Boo to the crowd who were very thoughtless and harsh. To do that to a young man and in front of his family too. So cruel, in Australia, are surprised, no way. Shame on all that booed Rafa! I was in too tears, devoted fan that I am and yes I cried when he lost at the FO. Wishing Rafa a speedy recovery and success for the rest of the tournament and always!

    No. 1 fan

  10. Rafa.
    Don’t let it get you down,you have the heart of a champion.follow your heart. The true measure of a real champion,is that he always finishes what he starts. we appaud you for that. you never disappoint us that love to watch you play!

  11. I watched the game on TV and I could tell that Rafa was in pain. Rafa you are a great sportsman, not to disappoint the crowd you kept giving your all even when injured. It was the crowd that should be sorry not you. Get well soon.

  12. As a mother of tennis playing boys, I can say that I am always impressed with Rafa and his sportsmanship. He is always gracious and classy in all his matches. I always use him as a great example for my boys of great sportsmanship and hard work on the court. We are disappointed by the poor behavior of the crowd at the Australian final. Thanks Rafa for your example. =) We are fans!

  13. Forget the fickle fans Rafa! They forget u r only human after all! I will be cheering you on as I always do in the stands every year at the Paribas Open in a few weeks

  14. I’ m disappointed of australian crowd, they didnt act like sportlovers, but like showlovers. Rafa, forget about that night. You are a great person !!!

  15. Mi niño, son tantas las alegrías que nos brindas, en verdad somos más los que estamos agradecidos de vivir la maravillosa experiencia de conocerte. Un ejemplo para miles de deportistas de diferentes disciplinas, quizás la esa gente no entienda que su comportamiento nada tiene que ver con el deporte, fuiste un guerrero que se quedo de pie, aun ante la más difícil adversidad te quedaste por respeto a tu oponente, al publico y a ti mismo! Si eso no son capaces de entender, pues querido..alla ellos! Nosotros seguiremos a tu lado, ya sea en tus triunfos como en tus tropiezos, pues el cariño va más alla que un simple trofeo! Vamos Rafa..que esto recién empieza!!

  16. True. Class Greatness..never ending fight with courage relentless through pain.. Class act our Champ Rafa Nadal.Vamooos. Rafa♡♥♥

  17. Mi rey Rafa, no te preocupes, a veces la gente no piensa y
    Se déjà llevar por sus impulsos, estoy segura de que se han arrepentido despues. Ten presente que el resto del mundo te quiere, te quiere, Y te quiere hasta el fin del mundo, asi ganas o pierdas. Nuestro carino crece y crece cada vez mas y eso debe bastante, OK mi rey?

  18. Rafa you are an amazing man, an amazing athlete as well … I can see that and you should know that there is people who support you no matter what happens :* 🙂 you should be proud <3<3

  19. Don’t go back to Australia- you are far to good to those who booed you- I hope they will live to regret it.

  20. Rafa you are a great tennis player,if you had not been in so much pain you would have won,You were very brave to go on as longl as you did.You played very well.The crowd did not boo you,they booed the fact that you could not give 100% AS YOU ALWAYS DO.,but they knew it was not your fault.Go get well so we can all enjoy tennis again.without you,its not so good………proud pensioner…jenny.xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  21. rafa you have many many people supporting you! don’t worry ,we see how much heart you gave, and will love and respect you for that. rest well my champion, my hero.

  22. Don’t be hard on yourself Rafa! You are an Outstanding Athlete & an Awesome person. I know you feel like you let everyone down but it is just a Thrill for us to see you play! Next Year Vamos Rafa <3. Be Well a Huge Fan 😀

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