An uncle can be truly annoying for a nephew. Especially if he’s called Toni Nadal. He was already rushing Mallorca’s future tennis mega-star Rafael Nadal, at the tender age of four, around the clay court of his home town Manacor. However, the exhausting coaching paid off favourably for both of them.
Today, Toni Nadal is known as one of the most successful tennis coaches worldwide. For the tournament of the best female international tennis players – the ‘WTA Mallorca Open’ in Santa Ponsa – the 55-year-old is the official patron.
Why do you – for the first time – get involved so much in a tournament in which your protégé does not participate?
A WTA tournament is something really special. Just imagine that some of the best female tennis players of the world are going to be here on the island for a few days. My island home Mallorca profits from this to a great extent.
For what reason?
The international media interest in such an event is simply enormous. Obviously, first and foremost, the location itself profits from this, but the tournament is an excellent promotion for Mallorca. And tennis means a fabulous flagship for the island.
Do you really believe that the tournament has a chance to establish itself on the island long-term?
The dates of the event are ideal. The tournament takes place in between two Grand-Slam-tournaments. Many players will use the ‘Mallorca Open’ as a kind of preparation for Wimbledon. Therefore, the conditions for lasting success are given.
Almost parallel to the tournament the Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy in Manacor is set to be opened. Could this be another new and sporting flagship for the island?
Yes, of course. Students and tennis players from abroad especially will use the premises in the future. I, personally, like that the project combines sports with a high-quality school education.
WTA-tournament and Rafael Nadal Academy: Is Mallorca slowly turning into an international stronghold of tennis?
Tennis has always been important on this island, which has repeatedly produced great players in the past decades.
The popularity of a type of sport for the masses depends on its idols. For Spain, what will come after the era of Rafael Nadal?
Spain can boast some of the best tennis players worldwide at the moment. And it´s been like this for many years. I don’t see a reason why this should change.
Rafa Nadal seems to be on his way up again after a drop in performance in the past few months. How difficult will it be for him to take over the Number 1 of the world rankings again?
Very difficult. However, this is the case for all individual professional sports nowadays, which makes them more appealing in a way. The competition is extremely strong. It’s an art to play constantly at the top level. And anyway, Rafa is still amongst the best. And he’s got it in him to continue being there in the future.
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