Rafa Roundup: Rafa won’t fire his uncle and coach Toni Nadal

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko
AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko


When asked if his recent struggles have led him to consider a split from his coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, the Spaniard was quick to reiterate his priorities (family first!) and shoulder any potential blame.  “I won with him all my life,” he said. “I have had the same team for all my career. I cannot predict tomorrow, but my coach is more my uncle than my coach. Family is more important than tennis. If things don’t go well, it’s not because of the coach. The fault is mine because I always have support.”

Nadal added that he would never fire his uncle. “No. It’s not only my decision,” he said. “That’s a decision of two people, not only one. Don’t forget that Toni is more my uncle than my coach. If in any moment of my career I change some member of my team, it will not be because I am losing or winning,” Nadal added. “It will be because there is not enough motivation for one another.” Nadal has had the same staff his entire career. “And I don’t think my career is a bad career,” he said. “If I’m not playing that good today, it’s not because they’re not doing the right job. I don’t know if I will be with my uncle until I finish my career because I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Nadal added. “I cannot predict what will happen tomorrow. But I’m not thinking about changing my coach today.”

Sin embargo, Nadal se olvidó del presente y echó la vista atrás para hablar de su equipo. “Jugué bien con la ayuda de esa gente. Siempre tuve el mismo equipo en toda mi carrera, y la mía no es una carrera mala”, precisó el ex número uno. El español señaló que el tenis va después de la familia: “No sé si estaré con mi tío hasta el final de mi carrera, no sé tampoco lo que pasará mañana”. “Y recuerden, mi entrenador es más mi tío que mi entrenador. La familia es mucho más importante que el tenis”.

However, Djokovic anticipated that the familiar Nadal would be back to winning ways come Paris. “I expect Rafa to play well in any tournament on clay. Yes, he did not have the start of the clay court season he hoped. He sets high standards and people look for those from him. He loves playing Madrid and he always peaks at Roland Garros.”

Rafa is teetering at No. 7 in the rankings, and he has runner-up points to defend; a title could bump him up, an early defeat would leave him even more vulnerable as he goes to Paris. Rafa will start against Marsel Ilhan, a qualifier from Turkey ranked 87th. Assuming he wins that, his next match could come against the ever-aggravating John Isner. 

Photo via Rafa Nadal Facebook
Photo via Rafa Nadal Facebook

“On that court (in Paris) he has only ever lost one match, so when the French Open comes round he’ll be one of the favourites. It is maybe closer than it’s been in previous years, but I wouldn’t write him off. He showed enough this week to suggest that with two good weeks of work and good results in Rome, he can go all the way at Roland Garros.



  1. Hi Rafa and Toni . You’ve been a formidable team . It’s the new era that’s Caught up with your game rather than your errors . Speed power and the return of your previously devastating baseline spinkicks not so effective and your midcourt high kicks is your nemesis . Address these issues with more backhand slices and your forearm down the line which was the best in da world . Work on your 2nd serve as well . You are my favourite always . Tinky Singh

  2. Rafa. Keep Toni. Of course he is your uncle and responsible for much of your success and your character. But if you go on to win, perhaps you need to add a new addition who can bring some fresh suggestions. Federer your hero did it and came back. Spdjokavic did it and he came back. Murray did it and he came back. And many others. You can remain loyal and still move forward. If you don’t want to continue losing you must either retire or get some new help. Always with you. Xo

  3. Rafa you don’t have to fire your uncle but you absolutely need a fresh pair of eyes in your team, who are unable to look at the situation from any other perspective other than the current one. Novak brought in Boris Becker and look at the stranglehold he has as no. 1.

  4. Love rafa but he could add another coach just as Dokavick has done with Becker it could give him a fresh prespective

  5. I am sure every tennis balls play during any match are all dirty. Nadal always wipes his face with his right hand( dirty from touching the balls) before serving. Wish he stops doing that, if not some days he will have trouble, rashing or infection on his face or his eyes. Wish him well and have a great year!!!
    From his long time fan.

  6. You look like you are. Knocking on the door to your winning again. Keep fighting
    It will happen I in France. You love that tournament. I wish you the best!

  7. Rafa never disappoints. He’s as faithful, loyal, strong, and loving as he’s always been. It’s he and his Uncle Toni and his other coaches now and forever!!! You have to love it!! VAMOS RAFA!!!

  8. Agree with Rafa don’t blame the coach if he lose ! Rafa needs new strategies to win slams and to play against Joker, Andy, John, Thomas, Stan,Rafa seems very vulnerable when facing these players, Rafa just take John Mc, or Andre for additional coaching as you always say Uncle Tony don’t get pay to be your coach , respect your family values and the great bond, support from your entire team but sometimes you need to think out of the box. I admire you from the start of your career until today and as a loyal fan I can see how tough you are but you need to add a new coach on your team!

  9. I do not believe it is Rafa’s uncle who is to blame for Rafa’s game of late they have always been a brilliant team but I do believe that time has moved on and like most things they have to change with it .I think Rafa has to I think Rafa has to now change his game and a second coach working along side hisvunclevwould do wonders .But all said and done zrafa has had a great career and family comes first and if that means his career comes to an end early because of that who are we to argue His nature and love and loyalty to his family in this day and age is whyvwr love and adore him so much x

  10. Rafa has so much wisdom. Agree with Rafa that family is more important – family comes first especially when they are such a close knit family. VAMOS RAFA!!!!!!!!!

  11. Totally agree with Rafa. I can’t imagine anyone else ever coaching Rafa.
    Uncle Toni and Rafa have always produced amazing tennis together. Even when
    times get tough they still are an amazing team. Their family bond is much stronger
    than any other. Always with Team Rafa and Uncle Toni! You can’t have one without
    the other! Vamos to both!

  12. I totally agree with Rafa.well said his uncle Toni don’t have nothing to do with Rafa n i t winning. Rafa will get back but he always have said last year.I not looking to be # 1 I just want to win more Slams. Rafa’s Family is first and he integrity is very important in his life also his character is what make him a winner. So I also believe in him Rafa is ones of my favorite player. He has 14 slams I am so I know he is very proud with a humble great Spirit.

  13. Family is more important than tennis and Rafael has had huge success with Toni . Perhaps it would be wide to get someone like John McEnroe on a consultancy basis . He is a big admirer of Rafael and I feel that Toni and he could work together. We keep faith in our champion

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