Nadal's Triumphant Uncle Toni Talks


58976695PARIS — Just after Rafael Nadal lifted his trophy for the ecstatic crowd at Roland Garros, Inside Tennis and then the AP and Sports Illustrated talk with Toni Nadal, the uncle and coach of the five-time Roland Garros champion.

What does it mean that Rafa is the French champion?

It means after a difficult year we are again very high with another Grand Slam. Seven titles is a dream for us and it is the reward for the work.

He said it was the most emotional moment of his career?

Yes because this probably the most important match this year

What did he show when he fought off all those break points.

Today he was good on break points and this year he is No. 1 [on the tour] on break points and this is very good.

And it will give him more confidence for Wimbledon?

Yes it will give him more confidence. But the confidence is only from here to the Monday when Wimbledon begins. For six years he has won at least one Grand Slam title so this is very important for us.

And the key to the match today?

He made less mistakes and at the same time he hit the ball very fast. The key was that Rafael played the first two sets very large and long and he made less mistakes and for [Robin] Soderling it was difficult to win points because Rafael come back every shot no.

Rafa refused to be pinned down by Soderling’s deep flat shots.

We knew this.It is very difficult for Rafael. But when Soderling hits the ball long and flat it gives Rafa the opportunity to make slices that are good and to make some drives with the forehand which were good. It was a complete match for Rafael

His movement was good.

Yes we have some problem [earlier this week] because the clay was glass a little, but today we can run very, very good and his defense was very good. Last year when we played Soderling, problems in our knees and when we played a year ago we can’t really play against Soderling, really.

Rafa looked light out there and in perfect form.

After a very difficult year for us. I remember the last matches at London Masters where they were really bad and now we are here and very happy and France is unbelievable.

Did you have wonder whether he would come back?

Obviously. [But] I believe with the work. But, maybe I thought maybe this is not enough,no. Obviously, when we finish 2009 we finish very bad, we finish with problems, was not good in this moment our thinking.

When did your doubts go away?

He was good in the first tournament in Doha, he played very good. Then in the big moments he loses. In Indian Wells he was not too good. [He had problems] with his mentality. His game was good but his mentality was not.

Monte Carlo, I thought he played really good. He is faster again, his movement was better. In Monte Carlo I thought we could change this year.

And what about the French fans?

No problem last year. It was not too good. Our defeat was with Soderling, not for the public.

His level today I thought was even better than when he beat Roger [Federer] two years ago.

For Rafael it is easier to play against Roger than Soderling. His game is easier for Rafael than Roger. Rafael played very, very good match today.

The best match ever maybe?

No, I think the semifinal against [Novak] Djokovic in 2008.

You said Rafa had problems with his mentality.

The problem was with the break points. He make mistakes. But there are problems and that is in the life. But there is the work and it changed in Monte Carlo and now we are here.

Divorce is a difficult thing for children.

No problem.

When do you think Rafa got by that mentally?

At the beginning of this year all this changes and we begin another year. The family is okay and all is good.

And Rafa is going to be No. 1.

It is very important for Rafael to be No. 1. He was for 46 weeks No. 1.

And will Spain do as well in soccer’s World Cup as Rafa at Roland Garros?

Spain will win the 2010 World Cup.

What is the most important thing for Rafa. Is it winning here?

Winning here, to know he is one of the most important clays in the history.

Was it important to show people I’m not going away.

No we know that we are always here and I say that if Rafael is no longer up, we are always tranquil, because we always make what we can. When he can win no more tournaments it’s okay.

You have seen so much from Davis Cup in front of 27,000 to Wimbledon. Where does this win today compare with others.

After Wimbledon, this is the most important first.