Rafael Nadal is one of the biggest, and most popular names to have ever taken to a tennis court. Just as popular is his long-time mentor and former coach, Toni, who also happens to be Rafa’s uncle. Toni Nadal expressed his thoughts recently on their highly successful partnership.
Nadal is already one of the most successful players in tennis, and he still has years to go before hanging up his racket. What is more interesting than his achievements is the process that went into it.
Looking at one of Rafa’s two biggest rivals in Roger Federer, there is a stark difference between the two. If Nadal is the product of acquiring new skills, adaptation, and hard work, Federer seems more of a natural talent if there ever was one.
Not to say Federer does not work hard; you don’t win 20 Grand Slam titles and stay on top of the game well after the age of 35 unless you work hard.
How Rafael Nadal rose to the top
One thing is for sure, the Spaniard has worked tremendously hard over the years to get to where he is now- in a position to challenge most records held by Federer.
His uncle, Toni, has played a significant role in developing Rafa as a kid and then fine-tuning his game as the years went by.
Toni had his say on the matter last week.
“I think the best thing I did with Rafa was the demand I put on him. He was a guy I always asked to do his best, be it in a European Championship or in daily training. It was more difficult for him to train with me than to win a tournament. That great daily requirement has allowed him to develop his potential to the maximum.”
Uncle Toni pushed Rafa to his absolute limits in training itself. So, when he stepped out on the courts, he was already at his intense best. This has been quite a distinguishing aspect of his game- he plays every point as his last.
“I was difficult for him and I must admit that I was sometimes too hard. My methods were always aimed at asking him a little more, to make him feel the pressure and maximum demand.”
There is no doubting how well Toni’s mentoring worked out for Rafael. When Toni stepped down as his coach in 2017, the pair had managed an awesome tally of titles.
Apart from the 14 Grand Slams, he also had countless other elite titles and achievements to his name.
As Toni stepped away, Rafa’s good friend and former World No. 1 Carlos Moya took over the reins. Uncle Toni now mentors young players in Rafa’s tennis academy, while also dabbling in other matters.
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Martina Navratilova compares Naomi Osaka to Serena Williams
Former world No. 1 Martina Navratilova suggested Naomi Osaka is all about business as she is focused on making it all the way on the biggest stage.
Osaka, 24, has seven titles in her collection and four of those seven titles came at the Grand Slam level.
“Naomi [Osaka] dominated the majors, particularly the hard courts, but never the little tournaments,” Navratilova told the WTA, as quoted on Tennishead. “Kind of like Serena. I think to leave your mark on the game, you need to dominate all the events, a la Barty, a la Djokovic.
“They concentrate on majors, but you can’t just use the other tournaments as warmups”.
Navratilova thinks Osaka needs to play more
Osaka took a two-month break from tennis after the French Open and she also didn’t play any events in 2021 after the US Open.
“The less you play, the more the pressure builds up and the less feel you have for the game itself,” Navratilova explained. “You need to put in the reps. If [Naomi Osaka] can do that, she has the game to blow anybody off the court because she’s quick, moves well and is strong on both wings.
“And she’s got the massive serve as well. She just needs to play more matches”. Recentl, Osaka opened up about losing the joy for the game. “I started to feel like that power was being taken away from me,” Osaka explained.
“I wasn’t playing to make myself happy and I was more concerned about what would people say about me. “I used to love the competition and just being competitive. Like if I were to play a long match, the longer it was the more fun it was for me.
“And then I just started to feel – recently – the longer it was the more stressed out I became. But I just needed a break to go within myself.”
Happy Memories – Maria Sharapova: “When I won Wimbledon my mother was …”
The last tournament officially played by Maria Sharapova was that of the Australian Open, 2020 edition: out of the top 150 players in the world, the Russian lost in the first round against Croatian Donna Vekic,for 6-3 6-4.
A few days earlier she had also gone out in the first game in Brisbane, this time against Jennifer Brady. Maria triumphed in Melbourne in 2008, winning the final over Ana Ivanovic. Speaking on the Second Life podcast, the beautiful Russian recalled a funny episode that took place more than sixteen years ago, on the occasion of her first and only triumph on the grass of Church Road, when she was still a teenager.
The memory of Maria Sharapova
At that edition of Wimbledon, 17-years-old Sharapova already occupied the 17th seed and was only her second participation in the British Major. Maria quite easily overtook Yuliya Beygelzimer, Anne Keothavong, Daniela Hantuchova and Amy Frazier, qualifying for the quarter-finals.
Here she defeated Ai Sugiyama in a comeback, as did Lindsay Davenport in the next round. In the final, she surpassed the American Serena Williams, holder of the title, with a score of 6-1 6-4. She said: “I remember my mother, at that time, was actually on a plane flight.
It was that time when small televisions on planes started to appear, my mother had one on. He saw me win at a height of 30,000 feet. Then I ran to the court and reached my bag, hugged my father and started to take my cell phone and call my mother, forgetting that it was still flying.”
The Russian will return to the final at Wimbledon one last time in 2011, but losing to Czech Petra Kvitova. Maria also boasts a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics, when she was defeated in the last game by Serena Williams with a clear score of 6-0 6-1.
Unfortunately, the Church Road event was not held this year due to the Covid emergency. Interviewed recently, the former 5-times-Slam-champion answered the question of whether she had picked up the racket again recently, she said: “In the last couple of months I haven’t done it, because I stayed home.
But of course I’ll do it when things calm down a little and there is more flexibility. Tennis is a sport that I love very much and I will certainly be back on the court soon.” Maria said she was aware that the sensations will not be the same as before, since she is no longer a professional tennis player: “It will be a bit strange and bizarre, but that’s okay.
I’ve always been a person who accepts a feeling or a feeling even when I don’t know it completely or don’t feel great, I like to find a solution. So I will also address this feeling when I try it.”
Why Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux’s two-year marriage ended
Hollywood actress Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux went from co-stars to husband and wife and built a wonderful life together in Bel Air. Sadly, the couple got divorced in 2018 and have since spoken out about the tragic split. Here’s everything you need to know about their relationship…
How did Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux meet?
Justin and Jennifer met through Ben Stiller in 2007, as Justin co-wrote the film Tropic Thunder with Ben, and Jennifer and Ben are long-time friends. But then in 2011, they also starred in the film Wanderlust together, which is where the romance really blossomed.
When did Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux get engaged?
The couple got engaged in August 2012, when Justin popped the question on her 41st birthday while they were in New York. Jennifer’s ring was a huge oval diamond with a delicate golden band – a rock that was very hard to miss!
When did Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux get married?
It was three years after the engagement, in August 2015, when the couple finally tied the knot. They chose to have their ceremony at their home in Bel Air, telling guests it was a birthday party and surprising them all with the nuptials.
When did Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux get divorced?
It was February 2018 when the couple called it quits and announced their divorce to the world. The rumour mill went into overdrive, but as their joint statement explains, the split was amicable. It read: “We have decided to announce our separation. This decision was mutual and lovingly made at the end of last year. We are two best friends who have decided to part ways as a couple, but look forward to continuing our cherished friendship.”
In a recent interview with Esquire, Justin finally quashed rumours that his desire to live in New York while Jennifer wanted to remain in LA was a factor in their break-up, saying: “That’s a narrative that is not true, for the most part.”