Rafael Nadal’s uncle and former coach, Toni Nadal, made a big statement on Thursday, proclaiming that a fit Rafa has a better chance of winning the French Open than current champion Novak Djokovic.
Rafael Nadal returned to on-court action in the season’s first tournament, the Brisbane International, and made huge waves by defeating Dominic Thiem in the first round. However, the excitement was cut short by Australia’s Jordan Thompson in the Quarter-finals.
The successful comeback of Rafa featured some crisp and clean shots along with sharp movements across the court. Tennis fans and Rafa’s team have dubbed it as a positive sign for better things to come in the future for the Spanish tennis star.
The 22-time Grand Slam Champion hopes to play at all or most of the major tournaments this season, including the Australian Open and his favorite, Roland Garros. Many speculate that this season is Rafa’s farewell campaign, and he will put his best foot forward to claim the Roland Garros title one more time.
Long-time coach and uncle of Rafa, Toni Nadal also expects the Spaniard to win at the clay court of Roland Garros. In an interview given to Cadena SER, Toni opened up on the topic and also compared Rafa’s chances of winning to the current Champion and World No.1 Novak Djokovic.
“I see him capable of winning Roland Garros because I am his uncle, he has done it 14 times and because last year Djokovic, not the best Djokovic, won it, and Rafael on clay is better than him. I think Rafael is a clear candidate and I see that he will have options.”
Uncle Toni: "I see him capable of winning Roland Garros because I am his uncle, 😂 he has done it 14 times and because last year Djokovic, not the best Djokovic, won it, and Rafael on clay is better than him"#obsessed https://t.co/3o2Lq1hrqa— C Kristjánsdóttir ●🐊 (@CristinaNcl) January 5, 2024
Toni Nadal also added that the Former World No.1 will also target the Paris Olympics this season as it is also supposed to take place at the Stade Roland Garros.
“The opportunity of the Games motivates him a lot. If on top of that it is in Paris where he has had the most success, aspiring to a gold medal is also added to the possibility of playing in doubles with Alcaraz. As a spectator, I think it is a real option.”
“His legs aren’t the same as they were 10 years ago, but in his head, nothing has changed”, Toni Nadal expects a great 2024 season from his nephew Rafael Nadal.
Earlier, Toni Nadal talked about his expectations from his nephew in the 2024 season. He also stated the Spaniard’s mentality heading into the new season.
Talking to RMC Radio, the former coach said that Rafael Nadal loves the sport and has the determination to keep pushing forward in his career. He also cited Rafa’s other personal traits that can help him excel and extend his career further.
“He has the will to still be here, he loves tennis, he loves competition, he loves the game. It’s his dream to play the tournaments he loves one last time. The more he plays, the more competitive he will be. We know that his legs aren’t the same as they were 10 years ago, but in his head nothing has changed. He still has the same determination.”