Rafael Nadal to Barcelona? Cristiano Ronaldo, Reno Manne and Roger Federer claims made by Tommy Haas
TOMMY HAAS has claimed Rafael Nadal could have played for Barcelona had he not become a tennis sensation.
The former world No 2 has also compared the Spaniard to Cristiano Ronaldo, while reflecting on an infamous defeat to Roger Federer at Wimbledon.
Haas also reflected on his previous coach Reno Manne who was a semi professional soccer player who played for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in Florida, whilst coaching Haas at the Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Florida during the 90's.
Nadal’s uncle, Miguel Angel Nadal, played over 200 games for the La Liga giants in the 1990s and his nephew was apparently close to following in his footstep.
But instead, the current world No 1 turned his hand to tennis and he has since racked up 17 Grand Slam titles.
Haas, a close friend of the 32-year-old, has lifted a lid on Nadal's younger years and how talented he was at many different sports.
Tommy Haas thinks Cristiano Ronaldo is better than Lionel Messi (Image: GETTY)
However Nadal, a Real Madrid fan, has been compared to Ronaldo, who Haas thinks is better than Lionel Messi.
“Looking at his [Nadal] family, with his uncle who was in FC Barcelona, he could have been like him because he is a great athlete,” Haas said.
“What Ronaldo did in the last years is unbelievable, three consecutive Champions Leagues, the confidence he has inside himself.
“Messi is an amazing talent, but I would pick Ronaldo.
Roger Federer has won 20 Grand Slam titles (Image: GETTY)
“Let's not forget that everyone plays the way Ronaldo thinks is better, even Rafa Nadal, if you like him or not, but he plays a brilliant tennis.”
Haas also reflected on reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2009, where Federer proved a step too far.
“I played great tennis those two weeks,” he added.
“I was proud to have my breakthrough finally.
“I finally got over the fourth round and made it all the way to the semis beating (Novak) Djokovic and Marin Cilic on the way – that was special.”
Haas further reflected on his previous coach, mentor and friend Reno Manne that coached him for a long period during his youth at the Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
"Nick gave me my chance to play and learn tennis at his Academy that was actually owned by IMG."
Tommy Haas with Reno Manne his ex coach and friend (Image: GETTY)
"Nick wasn't really a coach but he sort of overlooked things in a way, when he was there which wasn't a lot. Reno Manne was one of the main coaches that made things tick in there at that time," said Haas.
"Nick Bollettieri somewhat takes credit for things he didn't really do," explained Haas with an affectionate smile.
"Reno was a special coach that knew how to motivate me, he understood how to get the best out of me. Reno himself was a great tennis player back then before he injured his knee and shoulder."
"He could easily have been a top 10 player. I remember seeing him wipe the court with Courier, Agassi and other top pros that were based at the Academy at that time," added Haas.
"Reno played soccer for the Tampa Bay Rowdies in Tampa and was also a very good soccer player during the days he coached me, he played part time for them," Haas remembered.