Rafael Nadal told to respect Roger Federer by former coach Toni
TONI NADAL has revealed that respect was a key principle in his coaching of Rafael Nadal - and not just when it came to playing Roger Federer.
Toni, Nadal’s uncle, was the man who coached him from the age of eight until stepping down at the end of last year to concentrate on his work at the Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy.
But the 57-year-old’s imprint on world No 2 Nadal remains strong and he has now opened up on how he used to keep his nephew grounded by reminding him that his great rival Federer was not the only opponent he should respect on court.
“The first thing is that the respect is not only with Federer, it's a respect for the whole world,” Toni told Spanish outlet Expansion.
“When you get used to winning a lot, sometimes you forget your principles, you forget what made you win.
That's why I think you should be careful about these things.
“When Rafa was winning a lot, I remember that I always told him that he should have worked a little bit more to see if we could extend that dynamic for a longer time.
“Then when things were going bad, I was saying to work a little bit more to see if we were coming out from it as soon as possible.
“Throughout our lives, I thought that, if we were not doing things very well, others were good enough to beat us.”
Federer and Nadal have dominated the last 15 years of elite men’s tennis, meeting 38 times in all with the Spaniard winning 23 of them.
But they have yet to meet in 2018 and only played once between the 2014 and 2017 Australian Opens, something Federer himself admits is a great shame.
“We don't play each other that often anymore because we don't play as many tournaments,” Federer said this week.
“Especially in the recent years, me not playing the clay and him also being injured quite a bit in the last year and at the beginning of this year.
“We missed each other again on the tour playing each other.
“But it is always wonderful for both of us, you know, in the twilight of our career to have so much success.”