Sunday, September 12, 2010

Rafael Nadal's Uncle

The New York Times had an article by Karen Crouse on Rafael Nadal's uncle who is his coach and, well, his uncle.  In today's world one has to be skeptical of everything we read, but it would be nice to know that Toni Nadal is really the guardian angel he's portrayed in the article.  We all need an uncle like this in our lives.

“I am happy when Rafael plays good tennis, but I take more pleasure when people say Rafael is a very good person,” Toni Nadal said. “For me, it is so much more important to be a good person.” 
. . .After the match, his uncle talked to him about his demeanor. “I tell him you must be always grateful of the life,” Toni Nadal said. “I think one of the most important things I say always to Rafael is to have a good face. Because in this life, the ball going out is not a very big problem.” 
“When you think you are the king of the world,” Toni Nadal said, “you are really stupid in my opinion because in this life every person is important.” 

Well, before hitting the post button, I just had to see what others said about Toni Nadal.  It's not all good.  In a June 2009 post, Khalid Siddiqui writes at Bleacher Report:
Hey jou fan!!!! What jour problem? 'Ow dare jou cheer for anywon except my Rafa? Jou stupid French don't know greatness when jou see eet. Jos becoz Rafa eez from Spain..."
(And the rant continues.)
Seriously, Toni Nadal has emerged as a completely sore loser . . .
The Guardian also covered this incident.

And there's a June 2010 Tennis Country piece about Toni's illegal coaching:
World Number One, Rafael Nadal, was fined $2000 for illegal coaching by his long-time coach, uncle Toni, during a match at Wimbledon last week.  As his comments in his post-match press conference below indicate, Nadal did not believe that he had received illegal coaching.  However, Rafa does seem to state that his uncle Toni did “coach” him during other matches in the past, which is clearly against the rules.  This admission by Rafa is actually quite surprising and disturbing given that coaching from the stands is not allowed in men’s professional tennis.

In his post-match press conferences, Nadal said the following:

Was it fair to be warned about coaching? You looked very angry.
RAFAEL NADAL: Sometimes, yes. Not today, in my opinion. But, yes, sometimes in the past Toni talk maybe too much. And when it happened, and the referee or the umpire give me an advice, and if it is continuing, later a warning.  But not today, in my opinion. Yeah, no. . .
Interesting that Karen Crouse didn't mention these other two incidents in her story.  The first three pages of her archived NYT stories are mainly about tennis, swimming, and golf, so she is a regular sports writer.  She had to know about the illegal coaching incident because it was in June this year.  My skepticism is, once again, proven, unfortunately, to be well founded.  Even the NY Times gives us a puff piece that leaves out important information.

If Toni Nadal had stories written about him daily, it wouldn't be necessary to mention the previous issues - people would be expected to know about them.  But there aren't that many stories on Toni.  For many, if not most, readers, I'd guess this is the only one they've read that focused on Toni Nadal, so it needs to be more balanced. 

While I think Uncle Toni is still probably a great influence on nephew Rafael, he's not quite as perfect as Crouse portrays him.  And none of us are. 


  1. I didn't know you are so interested in tennis. I don't really watch it.

  2. Ropi, I did play a lot when I lived in California long ago, but really, the post wasn't so much about tennis. It was more about what is important in life, but also on how the media reports things.

  3. It´s good to have an uncle, but perhaps it could be better a godfather... I agree how you doubt the media.


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