Sport Uncle Toni still 'more than anything' for Nadal

09:11  13 january  2018
09:11  13 january  2018 Source:   Reuters

Nadal begins new era without mentor Toni in Australia

  Nadal begins new era without mentor Toni in Australia <p>Rafael Nadal showed that talk of his demise had been exaggerated by winning the French and U.S. Open titles last year although he faces a battle to repeat those feats without his lifelong coach and uncle Toni while also fighting familiar injury troubles.</p>He returns to the Australian Open, where he lost a thrilling five-set final to long-time rival Roger Federer in 2017, after overcoming his chronic knee problems just in time and hoping to continue last year's progress under new coach Carlos Moya.

motivated, 100 percent motivated to play this tournament, probably you don't love this sport." Uncle Toni still ' more than anything ' for Nadal .

Now with Rafa having only a few more years of tennis left in him, and with Moya at his side, Uncle Toni can finally relax. His commitment that that he will still be helping out Rafa as and when required shows that Team Nadal continues to be strong.

a man holding a tennis racket: Rafa Nadal of Spain reacts after wining a point against Fabio Fognini of Italy during their men's singles semifinal match at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing© REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon Picture Supplied by Action Images Rafa Nadal of Spain reacts after wining a point against Fabio Fognini of Italy during their men's singles semifinal match at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing World number one Rafa Nadal embarks on a new era without his coach and uncle in the players' box at the Australian Open but the Spaniard said he would always welcome advice from his lifelong mentor with open arms.

Nadal returns to Melbourne Park, where he lost a thrilling five-set final to long-time rival Roger Federer last year, hoping to continue his progress under new coach Carlos Moya.

Nadal practices in Melbourne amid Australian Open fitness concerns

  Nadal practices in Melbourne amid Australian Open fitness concerns Amid fitness concerns, world number one Rafael Nadal practiced in Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open. The world number one is under an injury cloud ahead of the year's first grand slam after withdrawing from the Brisbane International.However, the 16-time grand slam champion looked in decent shape as he practiced in warm conditions on Rod Laver Arena.The sight of the Spanish superstar would surely have been a boost to Australian Open officials..@RafaelNadal has arrivedWelcome to Australia, No.1! pic.twitter.

It is surely much harder to fire your uncle than to dismiss someone outside your family. But Toni has used his position and leverage to shape the person as well as the player, and if Rafael Nadal is still out there chasing down tennis balls in his early 30s with the same passion that he had in his early 20s, it

There is some truth in that. It is surely much harder to fire your uncle than to dismiss someone outside your family. But Toni has used his position and leverage to shape the person as well as the player, and if Rafael Nadal is still out there chasing down tennis balls in his early 30s with the same passion

Former world number one Moya will lead the Mallorcan's team, having helped him back to the grand slam winner's table in 2017 after a barren three years while preparing for Toni Nadal's retirement.

Toni has departed to focus on his nephew's tennis academy but Nadal said their relationship remained intimate and "easy".

"He participates as much as he wants to participate. He's my uncle," Nadal told reporters at Melbourne Park on Saturday.

"He's more than anything else. That's it. Everything that he wants to do with me, I am happy with, no? It's not about my

decision. He has enough confidence with me, or I have enough confidence with him, to talk about anything I have to talk.

Nadal begins new era without mentor Toni in Australia

  Nadal begins new era without mentor Toni in Australia Nadal begins new era without mentor Toni in AustraliaRafael Nadal showed that talk of his demise had been exaggerated by winning the French and U.S. Open titles last year although he faces a battle to repeat those feats without his lifelong coach and uncle Toni while also fighting familiar injury troubles.

Earlier this month Nadal ’s uncle Toni — his longtime coach of more than two decades — announced he would no longer be part of the Spaniard’s team in 2018. Instead, he will devote his time to developing players at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca.

More than anything else Nadal is a very loyal person. In this age where most of the tennis stars have famous coaches, Nadal is someone who has remained fiercely loyal to his childhood coach and his uncle , Toni Nadal .

"It's difficult to explain. But it's part of my family ... He loves me. I love him. It's not about, you know, a professional relationship. It's a familial relationship.

"In terms of professional things, I spoke to him few days ago, speaking about how the life is going, how the tennis is going.

"If I have something to ask, I ask him. If he has something to tell me, he calls me and tells me. No, it's not a difficult situation. It's a very easy situation."

Nadal's preparations have added to a sense of a journey into the unknown at Melbourne Park for the 31-year-old great.

He heads into his first round match against Dominican journeyman Victor Estrella Burgos without a competitive match since he pulled out of the ATP Tour Finals with a knee injury in November.

He missed warmup events in Abu Dhabi and Brisbane but had an exhibition match at the Kooyong Classic and another practice match with Dominic Thiem at Melbourne Park on Friday, complete with ball boys and a chair umpire.

The 16-times grand slam champion showed no sign of discomfort in defeating fifth seed Thiem and said he felt "good" and was "more or less" playing well.

A 17th grand slam title would bring him within striking distance of the record 19 held by Federer but Nadal said he had no extra need for motivation at Melbourne Park.

"It's impossible to be more motivated than last year or any year," said Nadal, who can only face second seed Federer in another final if they progress that far.

"For me, the Australian Open ... if you are not enough

motivated, 100 percent motivated to play this tournament, probably you don't love this sport."

Evergreen Federer is clear Australian Open favourite .
<p>Roger Federer is the "clear favourite" to retain his Australian Open title over an injury-riddled field when the first grand slam of the season starts next week in Melbourne, tennis analysts said on Wednesday.</p>Federer's bid for a 20th grand slam title will be aided by the absences of Andy Murray and Kei Nishikori, as well as lingering injuries to top players who are still expected to play like Rafa Nadal and Stan Wawrinka.

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