Rafael Nadal's uncle and long-time coach, Toni Nadal, has tipped his nephew to reach Roger Federer's record haul of 19 Grand Slam titles. Toni has also added that, despite the loss of form and injuries over the last few years, he always believed that Rafa could win Grand Slam titles again.
What a year it has been for Rafael Nadal! After a disastrous end to 2016, where he was knocked out early from all major events which resulted in him failing to qualify for the ATF World Tour final, he reached the Australian Open final. However, a loss to Roger Federer in Melbourne was followed by two straight sets losses at Indian Wells and Miami and some Nadal fans would have thought that maybe they had had the last hurrah.
But just as he had done throughout his career, Nadal fought back and the "King of Clay" won the French Open for a historic 10th time beating Stan Wawrinka in the final. A fourth-round loss at Wimbledon brought out the naysayers again, but the Spaniard took them on and secured his third US Open title at the Flushing Meadows leaving himself just three majors adrift of Federer.
While Nadal fans would have been worried given the Mallorca-born star hadn't won a major for 3 years before the 2017 French Open title, his uncle and long-term coach Toni Nadal has claimed that he never doubted his nephew's abilities and even went on to add that the all-time record of Roger Federer is not unreachable.
"It was unimaginable that would happen, of course. But I had faith that Rafael would win one more Grand Slam, I tell you truthfully," Toni Nadal was quoted saying by Eurosport.
"We will get to Federer’s 19, yes. I think it will happen. It’s difficult, but there is some more Roland Garros and I am confident other titles will come.
"I am very happy to see my nephew
However, even "Uncle Toni" had to admit he had not imagined that Rafa would become the second highest major winner in tennis history.
"When he was 12, 13 or 14, you never think he will get to this level," he said.
Nadal, who will turn 32 in June next year, has a four and a half year advantage over Federer and his dominance on clay could be a decisive factor if Toni's predictions are to come true. With Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray faltering over the last year or so and the new generation not able to match the brilliance of the big four, Nadal
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