Rafa Roundup: Uncle Toni will not travel with Rafa on the tour next season

Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts with his coaches Toni Nadal (L) and former player Carlos Moya during a training session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, January 15, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato
Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts with his coaches Toni Nadal (L) and former player Carlos Moya during a training session ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, January 15, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato

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“Rafael recovered his game,” Toni Nadal told L’Equipe in an interview in French. “His tournament was good, his attitude was good and his matches were not bad against [Grigor] Dimitrov, [Gael] Monfils and [Milos] Raonic.

… “It must not be forgotten that arriving at Roland Garros [in 2016], Rafa had excellent sensations,” said Toni Nadal, who is usually sparing in his positive assessments of his nephew’s play. “There was just this physical issue … For the first time in a long while, Rafael has no physical problems to manage … Since he has been playing with no pain, he has regained a high level.”

On the evidence we saw in Australia, Nadal could reclaim his “King of Clay” title this spring. But he will have to remain healthy, and he will have to deal successfully with the same kind of pressure that caused him to implode in 2015. Remember, Nadal reached the quarterfinals before losing to Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals at Brisbane before the first major of the year. He’s off to a great start, but it’s just start.

Federer and Nadal are largely exempt from the commitment demands of the ATP World Tour. But they must play if they want to continue making headway in the rankings. Right now, both are entered in one warm-up event followed by the two upcoming U.S. hard court Masters 1000s.

Rafael Nadal to win Roland Garros — Predictions the Spaniard would fail to win the one major he has virtually owned for more than a decade rang true in 2015 and 2016. But a surprise run to the Australian Open final to start this season has reinvigorated belief the 30-year-old is well and truly back in the mix and in pole position to recapture the Coupe de Mousquetaires. The Raging Bull’s biggest threats on the terre battue at Roland Garros will not come in the form of defending champion Novak Djokovic or world No.1 Andy Murray, but instead from his own rickety body.

“Esta es mi última temporada con Rafa. Desde el próximo año ya no seguiré a Rafa y me dedicaré exclusivamente a nuestra academia de Manacor. Quiero ocuparme de la formación de jóvenes talentos, que es el momento más delicado”, afirmó Toni Nadal en declaraciones publicadas hoy por la página web “Il Tennis Italiano”.

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47 thoughts on “Rafa Roundup: Uncle Toni will not travel with Rafa on the tour next season

  1. I think let’s take Tomi at his word. First he said he will not travel with Rafa that doesn’t mean he won’t still provide input. His has sacrificed time with his children to support Rafa. Now that he knows Rafa has the support he needs they both Moya & Roig. He can feel comfortable stepping away and lessen the sacrifices he has made to his family for over a decade.

    He has also said he will be there if he is needed. Perhaps he has seen Rafa’s progress with Moya on board and it has given him the comfort he needed to make the decision. On the travel front Roig has covered lots of hard court events instead of Toni for many years; Indian Wells, Miami, Canada and Cincinatti. So perhaps that will continue giving Moya a travel break as well.

    Why he did not tell Rafa first am not sure but maybe he felt it would be easier to state his case and not have conversations to potentially change his mind when he had already made his decision. I also think he did not realize there would be so much drama stirred up by the press. He is giving Rafa the year to get co for table with the change. I think he made the best possible choice for everyone.

    Will miss seeing him in Rafa’s box.

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  2. Margo

    According to the ATP website, Toni had already decided before reaching Australia, to step down as Rafa’s coach. He explained that it [the tour] was getting “tougher and tougher, and that his wife was told of his decision. “Now I have the chance to be a coach at the academy, something that makes me very happy. Rafa will be perfectly attended by Carlos Moyà.” Toni had not yet told Rafa of his decision.

    When Toni left Australia, he bade goodbye to the driver, who took such good care of them, and the tournament director because he knew it was his last time.

    “It has been a very long journey, loads of seasons. If instead of my nephew, I had coached somebody else, I would have stepped down much earlier.” Carlos and Francis will take the reins.
    In 2018, if Toni is needed, he will gladly help.

    Both Toni and Rafa are headed to a new chapter in their lives.

    RAFA ROCKS

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    1. YB

      I just think that Toni should have talked to Rafa and the team before talking to the press. Also, the way it was reported initially focused on his complaint about losing control of the decision-making, left a sour note in an otherwise extraordinary relationship.

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      1. Margo

        Yes, I was surprised when I read the comment that Toni purportedly said about his diminished decision-making role. I also know how the media twist things or take comments out of context. I have yet to locate a complete English transcript of that interview to determine, if possible, what prompted Toni to say such a thing.

        This is not the first time Toni has chosen to make a controversial statement. I wouldn’t worry about it causing a rift, at least not publicly. IMHO, if any damage control is deemed necessary, the family/team will do what it does best: they will stick together. I would agree with you about Toni speaking to Rafa first, instead of to the press; but this is no ordinary family. Do we fans/the media really know what is going on?

        I want to hear from Rafa.

        RAFA ROCKS

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    2. That is so sad… It makes me cry! Like I said I want to turn the clock back and have everything the same. It must be very difficult for Toni to travel like that with a family. His son’s are young…so cute lifting their arms and vomasing( is that a word) their famous cousin. Thank you Margo again for explaining everything… I was thinking that he was jealous of Moya and everything was in a uproar but now that you explained it it sounds as though everything will be fine!

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      1. Margo

        Souix, I am only giving my view of what may be going on after having read what little I could find about this new development in Rafa’s team.
        Toni’s unexpected decision about leaving Rafa in the capable hands of Moyà and Francis immediately brought to mind his announcement of having Moyà joining the team. Why have Moyà join only for Toni to leave the team? This led me to believe that it’s Rafa making the decisions.
        In his bio, Rafa expressed the desire to be able to disagree more openly with his uncle. As a youngster, Rafa used to think Toni had magical powers. He also realized that Toni often contradicted himself. Rafa finally realized that Toni had doubts and insecurities just like everyone else.
        I truly believe that Rafa has finally loosened that tight grip, either real or perceived, that Toni had over him. Rafa, I feel, is making decisions that may have been too difficult for him to make earlier in his life.
        Don’t forget that Toni always says he wants the best for Rafa. In feeling that Moyà can help Rafa, Toni would be pleased.
        I still want Rafa to add his input.

        I would love to hear Beverley’s thoughts about all that’s going on. She may disagree with a lot of this “stuff,” but her comments are always thought provoking and welcome.

        RAFA ROCKS

        RAFA ROCKS

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      2. I did read the article about Toni speaking to the press before Rafa… I think that part was wrong and Rafa deserved to know about it first. However it sounds as though everything is going to be fine. Uncle Toni will be available for Rafa when ever he needs him…Plus the 2017 season will remain the same! So for that VAMOS RAFA ! If he wins his 10 th RG I will retire with uncle Toni!

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      3. Margo

        I am soooo hopeful that Rafa will win his tenth. I would be surprised if EVERYONE were not there.

        He needs to stay healthy and hopefully that is the sole explanation for his Rotterdam no show.

        Next on his schedule is Alcapulco and I await with bated breath.

        RAFA ROCKS

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      4. Margo

        Souix, if you haven’t yet read the article by Kamakshi Tandon dated 2/15/2017, Tennis.com, check it out as I feel it addresses some of your concerns.

        RAFA ROCKS

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      5. Margo

        Souix, I just read that Toni did not tell Rafa he would leave the team by year’s end because it was the Australian Open and didn’t want Rafa”distracted.” According to the article, he did tell Moyà and his brother, Sebastian.

        RAFA ROCKS

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  3. Maria (England)

    Hi Diane , I actually envy Rafa’s tight knit family , something I think that is lacking these days, here in England anyway. I’m in no doubt that Toni’s departure from the circuit next year will cause no Rifts in the Nadal family . I think uncle Toni will get a new lease of life at the academy looking out for the next Rafa and getting to see his more of his own children before they fly the nest is long overdue. One thing for sure he will be kept busy. Now I’m just waiting to see Rafa in his next tournament.Happy Valentine’s Day Rafa.

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  4. Margo

    The more I read, the more I get the impression that it is actually Rafa behind the maneuvering going on around him. Rafa has always had, and continues to have, a strong and loyal support system. Because someone’s role changes, it does not necessarily mean that the support will be any less. I am guessing that, in deference to Toni, Rafa asked him to contact Moyà to see if he would join Rafa’s team.

    Toni has the academy challenge, and he was named tournament director of the WTA Mallorca Open. And, he is to tour with Rafa until year’s end. I would not want such a schedule.

    Like Toni, Moyà will also have the responsibility to assist in running the academy, and traveling with Rafa when needed.

    Francis Roig will also travel with Rafa though I don’t know the frequency.

    Only the members of this tight-knit family, and the team know exactly what is going on. I want to hear what Rafa has to say. He’s a big boy now.

    RAFA ROCKS

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  5. Maria (England)

    Diane, you said it all , totally agree. I will definitely miss Uncle Toni’s impish ways ,and who wouldn’t want their child to be taught by a man who helped Rafa achieve his dream.

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    1. Hi Maria,
      How are you? We should all have an Uncle Toni out there. He also had a wonderful student.
      I always found Rafa’s story fascinating also because of his tight-knit family dynamic. I also love how he stays loyal to his family, team and country. He’s such an inspiration and joy to watch!

      .

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  6. I would like to applaud Uncle Toni for his wonderful coaching, mentoring and guiding Rafa’s
    career from the very beginning. He was so instrumental in his nephew’s success. I willl miss seeing him in the player box.

    I wish him all the best at the Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy. Enrollment should go through the roof with Uncle Toni as one of the principals and tennis instructors. He will be sharing his tennis magic with the future generation of tennis professionals. I see it as a win-win for the Nadal team and family!

    I also want to add that it is an extraordinary accomplishment to open your own tennis academy as an active player in the open era. The Nadal family and team have made so many great contributions in the tennis world already!

    Vamos, Uncel Toni!!!

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  7. winter (@sweetmoon_my)

    Uncle Toni’s huge ego was hurt. He doesn’t like to lose his grip on Rafa. that’s all. Rafa should have sacked him 4-5 years ago.

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  8. Maria (England)

    I thought Rafa said Moya lived near him, they need to update Wikipedia, they have him residing in Geneva Switzerland. That’s why I was a bit confused when they said he would also be helping at The Academy.

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    1. YB

      I’m also surprised at the under-reporting of this news by major tennis outlets (I don’t think there is anything on ATP website). Maybe Rafa’s team asked them to hold off on reporting?

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    2. Margo

      Wikipedia contains many errors. A few years ago it had Rafa listed as a “French” tennis player. I contacted them and the correction was made.

      RAFA ROCKS

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  9. Maria (England)

    I haven’t read the article about Moya not wanting to travel Sioux, but it begs the question why would you take on this coaching position when you know that is required.If that’s the case I wonder how long Moya intends to be on Rafa,’s team and whether this could be a short lived relationship . That would be devestating without Uncle Toni as well. If as Beverly has said that Toni will no longer travel after 2017 ,I wonder why he has put out this statement so early.Im hoping knowing how he feels that he will be included in making more decisions and will change his mind.Uncle Toni started this journey with Rafa and made him the player and man he is today, and I think it’s only fitting that’s he’s there when Rafa’s professional tennis career on the circuit ends.

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    1. YB

      I think one of the reasons Moya gave for ending the relationship with Raonic was that he doesn’t want to travel so much. But I will be surprised after Moya becomes the head coach (after Toni leaves), he won’t travel with Rafa to all the important tournaments. After all, it’s an incredible honor and resposibilty to be a coach to an icon, one of the best players ever. Also, he lives very close to Rafa, the logistics should be much simpler than when traveling with Raonic.

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    2. I agree with you 100% Maria. I was flabbergasted when I read this… I was so in favor of Rafa adding a new voice to his team that I didn’t even consider Toni’s feeling on this matter. Perhaps he feels as though he is responsible for all of Rafa ‘s Success and doesn’t feel valuable anymore.It is no secret that Rafa is very family oriented and this would crush him if his uncle feels like this. It sure isn’t easy being a Rafael Nadal fan… I just want him to be well and play so I can enjoy him for a few more years. It seems as though uncle Tony has committed at least for this year,so let’s just hope and pray that Rafa will win his 10th RG! (I truly would be satisfied with that) ! Remember when his parents split up Rafa went on a downward spiral.He is a very sensitive young man and I just hope Uncle Toni hasn’t upset the apple cart..

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      1. ‘It isn’t easy” but surely his fans are proud to be his fans. 🙂

        I think Rafa of now, though still the same man he always is, is more grown up and experienced than he once was. It’s true he was devastated when his parents split but I don’t think it will be the same now. Besides, over the years uncle Toni has never been the shy type when it comes to making this kind of announcement or comment. We have yet to hear from Rafa and Moya so let’s wait a bit before making any conclusion. Cheer up. 🙂

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    3. Vy

      I think Rafa himself would say that it is uncleToni, his team and his family that made him the player and man he is today. If you read autobiography you will notice how he emphasizes how grateful he is for the support of his father and his family. And of course he appreciates the love of his fan too. Not to take anything from uncle Toni. I just feel it’s a bit unfair to just mention uncle Toni whenever the subject of what contributes to Rafa the man and his success is mentioned.

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      1. Margo

        Toni should be credited with recognizing Rafa’s talent and bringing it to the fore. And I agree with you about Rafa, his raw talent is undeniable.

        RAFA ROCKS

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  10. That’s terrible news… It makes me so sad that his uncle Toni won’t be there for Rafa… I was so in favor of him to add a new voice to his team but never never wanted this out come. I have read that Moya doesn’t want to travel either. This could affect Rafa in a big way… He is so family oriented and doesn’t like change. I wish that he would at least accompany him to the slams… especially Roland Garros,

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    1. Vy

      Actually though uncle Toni made the phone call it was Rafa’s idea to add Moya to the team. Uncle Toni admitted so in a recent interview. Last year in his interviews he also repeatedly answered that they (the team) were doing nothing different, the problem was Rafa’s mentality and they were trying to fix it to be able to go back to the level of 2008 (I know, it’s only 8 years ago and Rafa’s physicality of 2016 was still comparable to that of 2008 🤔).

      He also said to the effect of if it had been his fault that Rafa was in the fall then it would also had been him that accounted for all of Rafa’s victories. Fair enough. But somehow it doesn’t sound convincing enough.

      All in all as much as we all respect Toni and are grateful for him, it can’t be denied that whether Rafa had mental problems or not (he had indeed) it is clearly long-overdue to add a new voice to the team. Everyone and every commentator that I’ve heard in AO17 ‘exlaimed’ that why it didn’t happen any sooner. I guess not only Rafa’s fans but also tennis lovers and people are happy that Moya is now with Rafa, that there is something new, something can lead to small changes then gradually bigger ones. 😊

      Uncle Toni has been doing really well for the most part of the last 27 years – twenty-seven! That is by no means an ordinary feat. So whatever happens in 2017 and the next years uncle Toni will always be cherished. Let’s hope for the new talents from Rafa Nadal Academy to emerge soon and as always, good health and good luck to Rafa. ☘️🎾

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      1. Uncle Toni is Complicated! It sounds as though he’s a little bit jealous of Moya! Like you posted every Commentator… John McEnroe especially was befuddle why he wouldn’t consider a new coach or at least a new voice on his team. John McEnroe’s words “Get a new damn coach” Look at all the other tennis players… They go through coaches like water… Rafa needed something and Moya seemed to be working. I am a little perturbed with uncle Toni …this is not in the best interest (or time) to pull this on Rafa… He has always been tough on his nephew..Rafa was terrified of him as as child!

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  11. va4favre

    I am hearing some mixed views on this, so we may need to hear from Rafa himself. I certainly expected Toni to reduce his role somewhat as a coach if he is to be the head of the Academy. If he does not travel with Rafa, he could still have a significant role. We have seen Toni’s adorable sons at tournaments and they need more attention too.

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  12. Maria (England)

    Won’t be the same without uncle Toni , he’s done a great job and now it’s time for him to dedicate more time to his own family . He’s been a brilliant coach and hopefully in a few years we will see him turn out some future grandslam players from the academy. Uncle Toni you will certainly be missed .

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    1. It won’t be the same without Toni Nadal …I know he has been there every step of the way with Rafa. I can’t remember not seeing him standing vamosing, cheering Rafa on when he made an awsome point or when he won! It was his uncle Toni that he ran to frist after every victory.I wish that I could turn back time and watch Rafa all over again…We all know that the day will come when he will retire but I’m just not ready for it yet…I honestly think Rafa has a few more slams in him…He was so close at the AO. We have 2017 to enjoy …Just hope this all doesn’t affect Rafa.,Don’t know whats next…Maybe Indian Wells ( hope so I can go see him)!

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  13. Margo

    Rafa cannot “reclaim” his title of King of Clay. He never lost it. He is still the only one to have won the Coupe des Mousquetaires a record nine times, including the most consecutive wins in the Open Era at five.

    RAFA ROCKS

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    1. This is a little baffling. Uncle Toni will no longer travel with Rafa after 2017 but he will still be head coach. Does this mean he will continue to coach Rafa at home in Mallorca but will not travel on tour anymore? Perhaps he feels there are enough voices on the circuit and, as he says, is being left out of the decision making. He will also be head coach at Rafa’s academy so it seems he has enough on his plate and he may feel he does not need to do all this travelling any more. He also said he and Rafa have the most cordial relations so hopefully this is something which will continue as I think Rafa would not he happy otherwise. He is too family oriented to want a rift in the family. For this year anyway Toni will still be on tour so hope an amicable outcome will be in place for 2018..

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      1. YB

        I think the way Toni annoced it (unexpected, without talking to Rafa and the team first) might affect Rafa negatively. Hope they sort things out quickly, so Rafa can keep his focus, and continue the great comeback.

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