The Nadal dynasty is showing signs of extra legs as Rafael Nadal‘s young cousins registered their first ever ITF matches over the weekend.
The world No 2 owes a great deal of his considerable success to the role of his uncle, Toni. The 59-year-old has been in Nadal’s corner for the majority of his career, leaving the coaching team in 2017 in order to devote himself to the Rafael Nadal Academy.
And Toni’s teenage sons, Toni Jr and Joan, are developing nicely as the pair look to make it in professional tennis.
Rafael Nadal’s cousins Toni (L) and Joan (R) are looking to make waves in professional tennis
Toni, 17, and Joan, 16, are sons of the world No 2’s former coach and uncle Toni (right)
Toni Jr, 17, swept aside Lennart Melzer in straight sets to clinch his first ITF win in the qualifying rounds for the M15 in Manacor, Spain. He will face Oleg Prihodko in the next round.
Meanwhile Joan, 16, was forced to grind out a 6-2, 5-7, 10-8 win over Denis Klok. The Russian is ranked in the ATP’s top 700 players, representing a big scalp for the youngster. He will play Peter Benjamin Privara next.
The pair need two more victories to make it into the main draw of the tournament at their older cousin’s tennis academy. An ITF event took place at the same location last week, where Joan made his professional debut and lost to Kuzey Cekirge.
Joan Nadal Vives (2004), hijo menor de Toni y primo de Rafa, ha hecho hoy su debut como profesional en la qualy del M15 Manacor -torneo que se realiza en la Rafa Nadal Academy-.
Joan cayó 6-1 6-3 ante el turco Kuzey Cekirge (1213°).
— Ariel Fernandez (@AFD7L) January 3, 2021
Toni left Nadal’s coaching team in 2017 to focus on running the Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy
Sporting talent runs deep in the Nadal family. Muguel Angel Nadal, another uncle of the world No 2, played professional football for Barcelona and won 62 caps for Spain.
Toni will likely play a huge role in the development of the two young talents and replicating even a fraction of the success he enjoyed with his nephew will signal a great achievement.
The pair won 13 Grand Slam titles together, making Toni one of the most successful coaches in the sport’s history.
Sporting talent runs through the Nadal family and the pair could be the next to break through
Since leaving Rafael’s coaching team, Toni has insisted he has no regrets over his departure, stressing that mentoring the next generation is a better use of his time.
‘No (I don’t miss him), I was very lucky to train a great player who is also my nephew,’ Toni said in an interview last year.
‘I enjoyed that and I feel grateful for it too. But I like to train children, like now at the academy in Manacor, because I have the feeling that I can give them more than my nephew.’