The Big 3 remain dominant major players for two primary reasons, says Toni Nadal.
The Big 3 of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have won 15 of the last 16 Grand Slam crowns with Djokovic and Nadal claiming 10 of the last 11 major championships.
In an interview with SRF, Toni Nadal, uncle and original coach of Rafa Nadal, says the quest to be Grand Slam king and the fact all three iconic champions are dangerous on all surfaces are the two main reasons why they continued to dominate Slams well into their 30s.
“I think there are two main reasons why they are still so good,” Toni Nadal told SRF. “On the one hand, everyone wants to end their careers with the Grand Slam record. On top of that, they can still win virtually any tournament. If that were no longer the case, you wouldn’t be playing anymore.
“I can’t imagine a Roger Federer continuing if he can’t play for the big titles anymore.”
Toni Nadal returns to Paris this week coaching rising Canadian star Felix Auger-Aliassime and told SRF it would be “a dream” to coach Federer though he’s aware the 39-year-old Swiss superstar is unlikely to make that request.
“He would never come to me. He’s so good, he doesn’t need any help,” Toni Nadal said of Federer. “But it’s clear: it would be a dream come true for every coach to train Roger Federer one day. He is one of the best tennis players in history, if not the best. But I’m sure he doesn’t need my help.”
In a 2019 interview with Hall of Famer Mats Wilander for Eurosport, Uncle Toni tabbed Federer as GOAT—and his personal favorite player to watch aside from his nephew.
“For me, he’s a wonderful player,” Toni Nadal said of Federer. “I like a lot to watch Roger Federer. [If] I was not the uncle or the coach of Rafael, I want Federer to win all the matches.
“I like how [Federer] plays because he’s very elegant, but he’s very effective, too. I know Federer is the best ever. I don’t know maybe with Rod Laver… Rafael is not too far. Federer is the best.”
Toni Nadal, who runs the Rafa Nadal Academy in his native Mallorca and plays with a one-handed backhand himself, says he has a simple tennis dream: that young players try to emulate Federer and Nadal—not necessarily because of their styles of play but because of the passion they both bring to the game.
“I hope in the next generation can be a player like Roger, similar to Roger, or similar to Rafael,” Toni Nadal said. “Because when they put this passion, it’s good for the ATP Tour.”
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