Uncle Toni Nadal: Rafa’s Body Isn’t That Great, Ferrer’s Is Better!

by Tom Gainey | February 20th, 2014, 11:18 am

In an interview with welovetennis.fr, Uncle Toni Nadal offered his thoughts (via translation) on a myriad of topics about his nephew and World No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

Toni said Rafa’s worst losses were the 2012 Australian Open final when Novak Djokovic beat him and the French Open in 2009 when Robin Soderling stunned the King of Clay.

On the French match with Soderling, Uncle Toni wasn’t pleased with how the crowd reacted with their whistling.

Toni also revealed that growing up, he didn’t stress physique to Rafa, rather he worked on the technical side to the sport. He now says while Rafa’s since added strength and fitness, he thinks Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Novak Djokovic and even David Ferrer are better physically than Rafa, but Rafa is stronger in the head.

On the ATP Finals, echoing Rafa’s words last year, Uncle Toni said again that it was unfair that the year-end event isn’t played on clay. And he added that Rafa also doesn’t have the luxury of playing multiple Slams on clay, like some players have with hardcourts.

Nadal plays today at the Rio Open against countryman Albert Montanes.

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53 Comments for Uncle Toni Nadal: Rafa’s Body Isn’t That Great, Ferrer’s Is Better!

skeezer Says:

Unc Toni……why talk…why talk at all? Lol…
Not pleased with crowds, unfair, same ol same ole.

Most interesting part is Ferrer is better physically than Rafa? Maybe he meant a better body built for Tennis?
Something had to be lost in translation there!

Polo Says:

Rafa and his uncle have excuses already set up for any and all losses incurred this year. Congratulations!

Nelb Says:

Toni should be happy about the focus on hard courts. That’s where most of the competition is. That leaves Rafa free to scoop up all the clay events. He gets to play all of his main rivals on a surface which is not their best. Only Ferrer is better on clay than hard/grass yet he is no match for most of the top guys even on their less favorite surface.

Of course, Rafa is a great player on all surfaces. Of his 61 titles he has managed to win 19 of them on a surface other than clay. A few more and he will even match the great Andy Roddick’s non-clay total titles of 27.

Brando Says:

Uncle Toni you must be great at fishing back home in Majorca. You’ve given a simple bait here and the trolls have fallen for it. Bravo Uncle Toni bravo!

Okiegal Says:

Again Tom Gainey presents another thread where Rafa will get lots and lots of attention!! That’s OK by me……He is one of my favorite subjects too! The writers know who brings in the most hits….negative and positive alike!! Starts out Rafa, leads to Roger, and vice versa. Bring it on! This Rafa fan is as mentally tough as he is!!

I wonder if the players read this crap??

Okiegal Says:

I also wonder if Uncle Toni even realizes all the hoop la he stirs up with what he says to the press, with the language barrier and all?? Skeez May be right……losing some real meaning in the translation. I know a few things Rafa has said has gotten misconstrued before……but his English has gotten so much better imo.

rafaeli Says:

Polo Says:
Rafa and his uncle have excuses already set up for any and all losses incurred this year. Congratulations!
February 20th, 2014 at 11:58 am

Every year some Rafa hater comes up with this and Rafa always sends them off with their tail between their legs.

didi Says:

Unfair year end isn’t played on clay… really? I think its unfair that there are so little events on grass.

Frankie Says:

AlS! I guess this writer is trying to inject some spice into a very dull week of tennis….no Roger, no Djokovic, no Murray….!

Truthsquad Says:

In a just world, all majors would be on clay, Rafa would have 2 days between each round, unlimited time between each point, unsupervised and unlimited MTOs. And the crowds would sit quietly and sppreciatively in between only his shots of brilliance. Oh and someone to line up his water bottles and pull his shorts out of his butt. That’s all, no?

Skeezer Says:


Brando Says:

^Nah scratch that:

Too many commas and ”and’s” in the trite you wrote there.

Try this one:

In a perfect world Rafa would face Fed from round 1 on repeat all the way through till the Championship match since there can no tougher challenge for a player than facing a GOAT right?

Give him a punchbag opponent rather than all those ”and’s’.

A Tango Lad Says:

As a fan of Roger, I feel there is no need to diminish Nadal and his incredible achievements.

If Nadal was outside the Top 10 with no majors, there would be no such insults I’m certain.

Nadal and Roger are both incredible. Why the need to be petty?

Nat Says:

Toni has got to be the most annoying coach ever (or actually a toss-up between him and Judy Murray)

I guess at least Rafa is a likable champion.

rafaeli Says:

A Tango Lad Says:
As a fan of Roger, I feel there is no need to diminish Nadal and his incredible achievements.

If Nadal was outside the Top 10 with no majors, there would be no such insults I’m certain.

Nadal and Roger are both incredible. Why the need to be petty?

February 20th, 2014 at 7:25 pm


rafaeli Says:

Nat Says:
Toni has got to be the most annoying coach ever (or actually a toss-up between him and Judy Murray)
I guess at least Rafa is a likable champion.
February 20th, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Annoying to whom?

roy Says:

ideally the year end should flip between hard, clay, grass as these are the official surfaces.

it’s not possible to lay grass properly in the indoor arena. but it’s certainly possible to flip between hard and clay in any contracted arena.

it is absurd that it is indoor hard every year.

green900 Says:


think about ALL the clay tournaments there are in the year, which includes 3 masters and a slam. relative to that there are hardly any indoor tournaments so it is only fair that a major tournament such as ATP world tour finals be indoor to give the surface recognition and importance

A Tango Lad Says:

I like the indoor tournaments as much as the next man. It certainly plays to Roger’s strengths so I have no issue with the number of indoor tournaments. For that matter let’s have more!

However, this is an elevated single event, the World Tour Final worth more than Masters 1000 tournaments.

Therefore to add to its credibility and make it even more distinct and fair, of course it should be on a rotating (albeit indoor) surface.

Let’s just wait for Roger to retire first! I know, I know, I am just being selfish!

Skeezer Says:

Way to expose the vamoshead, trying to hide and justify there loves best interest, not in the best interest of the game!

Skeezer Says:

“Annoying to whom?”
Read the blogs…read the objective posters and tennis fans…
Don’t just read the fanatical minute few vamosheads.

Nat Says:

@rafaeli To the tennis community who has to put up with the never-ending complaints that come from his mouth? Don’t you think it’s ridiculous he insists to change the format of the WTF just to suit Rafa? And insisting for multiple slams on clay, can you be more self-serving than that?

Plus his blatant dismissal of rules- I mean the guy openly admitted to coaching during matches?!
This year alone he complained about the speed of the courts at the AO, the rule violation Rafa got, the AO crowd in the final and plus this article.

He needs to learn to just shut up.

Jose Felciano Says:

again let us look back to the former times and champions to search for complaints about the tour as to why they didn’t/can’t win…..

skeezer Says:

@6:23 post
Oh yeah.. Always in defense ot tye vamosheads they must bring in Fed, its his fault in all of Rafa’s trangressions. What a bunch of usual crock from a Rafa vamoshead jealous girlie armani poster bedroom bunchl! LMAO!

metan Says:

Mama. Mia, Toni Nada again!! Ting Ting Ting.
I must say agree with him re. WTF. It needs to play on different surface not for the sake of a certain player in this case Rafa but for the benefits of others players who got an invitation which they have their own prefer surface clay or grass but it must playing indoor.
Rafa echoes the same things last year. He added that it is good if it is done for the next generation. IMO, overall, good idea for ATP /ITF to evaluate it.

Giles Says:

@metan. As long as that ole Faderer whiner is around the surface will never change!

steve-o Says:

What twaddle is this? Does Wimbledon need “credibility” by being held on a different surface each year? It’s worth more than the Masters tournaments, after all! Shouldn’t we rotate Roland Garros to a fast indoor hard court on a regular basis–just to make it more “fair” for others? Why is it always on clay?

Piffle. You play the tournaments there are, and if you win them, you win them, and if you don’t, you don’t.

Giles Says:

ATP feature on Toni Nadal.

Steve27 Says:

People take the bait and fall into the trap again.

Purcell Says:

I’m interested to know which other coaches speak up so frequently for their charges. Most of them, with the exception of a couple of ‘dad coaches’ behave professionally, concentrate on their task and don’t feel the need to pass the buck or go into the blame culture. Of course, they haven’t got the dubious advantage of being related to their charge. Because Toni Nadal has fooled us into regarding him as the ‘avuncular’ family member to his ‘little nephew’, he is getting away with berating players, surfaces, crowds, the system, the season etc etc. Nadal is a very lucky boy to have this piece of work constantly speaking up for him but then UT is the one who has insidiously taught Rafa all the tricks in the book so of course he has to go on the offensive.

Giles Says:

Uncle Toni is a genius!
Vamos Rafa!
Vamos Uncle T!
Happy birthday Uncle T!

RZ Says:

Interesting that he would pick those as Rafa’s worst losses, rather than the losses to Lukas Rosol or Steve Darcis. I guess it’s a matter of perception.

Daniel Says:


I think those 2 loses will be in anyone list of Nadal’s worst losses. 1 was his preferred Slam and court, a shocker really. The other was a 7th straight final in a third Straight Slam final. He was in a very delicate moment after that match. Those and Wimby 2007 when he was so close must be top 3. Those 2 in Wimby were so early in the tournament and so unexpected that hardly count, kind of lost relevance. Losing a major final will always be worst, unless he loses first round RG this year to Almagro or one spanyard who never beat him. Or to Davydenko, that would be funny!

Okiegal Says:

I expect Uncle Tony is anxious for an interview to take up for his nephew. Blood is thicker than water…….I can talk about my relatives but nobody else can! Worse losses for me Wimy 2007 and AO 2012. He received more flack from the Soderling/Rosol losses, however. Tony is right, Ferrer’ s body is in better shape than Rafa’s, anyone can see that!

Hippy Chic Says:

Daveeds body is better than Rafas,maybe it is?but im sure he would swap places and kill for the career Rafas had,13 GS and 26 masters 1000 titles,Daveed has no weaknesses but has no major strengths to his game either.

Hippy Chic Says:

Worst losses IMO were Darcis,Rosol,Soderling in that order,i loved the look in Rafas eyes when he met Soda in the final the following year,which suggested you beat me last year how dare you,and now im gonna get my revenge and your gonna pay for that big style,with a straight sets defeat,much like Serena when she lost to Maria at Wimbledon all those years ago,shes never ever forgiven Maria for that one,and by god Maria is paying for it now lol.

Brando Says:

His worst loss was EASILY to Wawrinka.

As he said himself: it was the WORST he ever felt on court. Now the back issue was not severe as (thankfully) other moments in the past. But the timing as absolutely awful:

In a GS final.

Even the cynics admit: after 1 mere set and 3 games- no doubt Rafa was not able to give his best in the final.

That obviously is awful to suffer in a GS final.

This would be number 1.

2. Losing to Djokovic in AO Final:

Now losing to Novak was not an issue: after all- not much difference between 6-0 to 7-0, no?

But the reason why it sucks is because he was 4-2 up in the 5th and had a chance to go 5-2.

Long story short: he was very, very close to winning a Slam there hence it hurts.

3. Wimbledon 2007:

Rafa had his chances in that match. Had he taken them he could have won. Fed said on court he got away with that one, whilst Rafa cried in the locker room due to the hurt of the loss.

The better player won but nonetheless it’s a tough loss since Rafa was very close that day.

The Soderling, Rosol, Darcis loses whilst they obviously were tough loses, shockers etc did not hurt as much since:

Reality is he obviously post those matches had a lay off physically. And even IF he won those matches would he have won the event themselves?

Barring RG because it’s him at RG I honestly don’t think he would have won the other 2.

So really for me it’s: Wawrinka, Novak and Fed- Slam Finals.

Okiegal Says:

@ Chic

I’m sure he would trade places with his friend. One thing Rafa has going for him is mental strength, the other players who face him will tell you that. So many of his close matches are won because of true grit and sheer determination……that’s why he’s my favorite, he never gives up!!

Vamos Rafa!!

tennisfansince76 Says:

ha ha sorry Uncle Toni but the little engine that could aka David Ferrer is not in any way better than rafa physically. how exactly does he think he is better physically. is he taller? no shorter. is he faster? no not as fast as Rafa. is he stronger? no Rafa has a superior racquet head acceleration. does he have more stamina? while his stamina is admirable it is not better than Rafa’s.

Skeezer Says:


Purcell Says:

What I’m simply saying Okiegal is that Uncle Toni should take note of the way other coaches conduct themselves in interviews. ‘Blood is thicker than water’ is his free pass for aiming critical barbs at a variety of targets whilst simultaneously masking excuses with false praise.

A Tango Lad Says:

Toni Nadal has always maintained to this day that Roger is the best player in history. Is this also false praise then?

Where does it end?

Hippy Chic Says:

A Tango Lad as a Rafa fan i think Roger is the greatest player to have ever played the game,and also the most artistic and talented player to have played the game,but then again maybe im lying maybe its false praise and i have an ulterior motive?(sigh).

Matt Says:

Not sure if Uncle Toni is playing mind games, but you have to give overall fitness to Ferrer. His body has remained constant throughout years on tour, with minimal injury. He played the most matches last year, with no massive injury. Nadal is extremely injury prone. But the better player, well what do you think? Would you rather be extremely fit or extremely successful?

Purcell Says:

Indeed Tango Lad, Toni has said that in the past but you only have to look at ‘Also check out’ number 3, to realise that praise so generously dished out to many of Nadal’s opponents is then negated with these type of comments.
Where does it end? Probably at RG 15,16,17 when Rafa, on behalf of Uncle T, equals or surpasses seventeen slams.

Okiegal Says:

@Purcell……Blood is thicker than water. Someone pointed out that the two most annoying coaches are Tony and Judy……so there you go, they are just a little more passionate about their charges, because of the kinship. Nothing wrong with that. False
praises to who?? As a poster up above said, he thinks Roger is the best player ever and his nephew agrees. You surely don’t think he’s lying about that, do you?? You think that too. David is physically in better shape than his nephew. I’m no physio……Matt said it best @ 7:21.

I may not have understood exactly what you were trying to get across to me……but I tried! Lol

Purcell Says:

Okiegal…..there’s nothing wrong with being passionate about someone with whom you share kinship until it oversteps the mark in the ways which I’ve pointed out. I’ve read and seen interviews with other coaches, related or otherwise, who simply don’t take this line. Judy Murray is a good example. She may not be coaching Andy any more but while she was, she endured constant criticism from the British press about her looks,her attitudes in the player box and her perceived lack of success in coaching her son. Andy was also the target of vile comments. Throughout all this, Judy maintained her respect for the players, the sport, the system and the spectators. A lesson to Toni perhaps but then we all know what he thinks about women in tennis, especially referees.
Regarding ‘Roger being the best player……’ I no longer believe anything emanating from the mouth of Uncle Toni because for years he and his camp have been sending out conflicting, self-serving messages. Any resemblance to truth is sadly not in evidence.

Giles Says:

Uncle t is a liar. Faderer is not the best player!!

Okiegal Says:


I respect your opinion but don’t agree. It is obvious you aren’t going to change your mind and I’m sure not going to change mine…….so I suppose we have reached an impasse on this negative opinion of the Nadal family subject, don’t cha’ think?? I always enjoy your feedback, but almost never agree with it. On the subject of passion….we are all guilty of that. That’s why we are always fussing back and forth……the passion everyone on TX has for their favorite players.

Have a good evening!!

A Tango Lad Says:

What about Nadal then? Is he a liar too?

Okiegal Says:


It’s never been a secret who Rafa and Toni call the best player ever. I think they are very honest when they say this. I don’t think it’s written down anywhere that Roger has been knighted as such, that opinion is in everyone’s mind for who they personally prefer. I couldn’t call Toni or Rafa liars if that is their opinion. I think it’s too early for that to be written down in record books at this point…imo. Novak is a master on the tennis courts too, just didn’t find his game as quick as they did. Thank goodness he got his health issue figured out where he could be a contender.
I love watching tennis and all of our wonderful players make this sport what it is today, because of their hard work and dedication to the game.

Hippy Chic Says:

Even as a Rafa fan Uncle Toni is a great coach whos helped Rafa to win 13 GS,however i do admit i hate some of the things he says/does which put more negativity onto Rafa when all i want is to watch him play tennis,i dont care if he sweats or how he wears a suit,or how classy his endorsements are,and all that particular tripe that people bring up,just his tennis is all im interested in,and personally i think his tennis is great fantastic even,if others dont care for him or his tennis then fine thats their perogative,i can get on board with all the other stuff that Purcell is saying,and not saying Toni doesnt think Rafa could overtake Roger etc,but to be lying about Roger been the greatest i think thats reaching for an argument thats not even there.

Giles Says:

Darren Cahill during Rafa’s match last night :
“It’s not about Federer, it’s about how good Nadal is”

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