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Uncle Toni Says Rafael Nadal in Good Form, but Still Lacking Confidence


Rafael Nadal’s coach and Uncle, Toni Nadal, gave the Tennis Podcast an interview on Friday, and admitted that while Nadal’s form is steadily improving, his confidence has still yet to come around.

Listen to the Full Interview Here

He was asked by host David Law about the difference between today’s Nadal and the Nadal of a few years ago that was winning three major titles, and replied as follows:

“The difference between today’s Rafa and what happened some years ago is that his mentality is not very constant,” he said. “This is our problem—the problem that we have had this year.”

The coach says that there are bright spots in Nadal’s game as well, however, particularly with regard to his ability to play to his potential on grass. “I think today we can play better on grass than two years ago or three years ago because after 2011 he had many problems in his knees and it was very difficult for him to play on grass because he cannot get down with his legs,” he said. “But now, he can.”

Uncle Toni admitted that the first-round loss to Alexandr Dolgopolov at Queen's was a setback because Nadal had a break in the third set and he couldn’t find a way to maintain his edge despite the fact that he was playing well. It's a pattern that the Spaniard has yet to completely break this season.

“The confidence is coming always with victories, nothing else," he said. "You can play well, like now I think Rafael is playing well enough, but if you do not have enough confidence, in the important moments the ball goes out. It’s what happened here against Dolgopolov.”

He added: “I think we need a little more confidence. When we are a little lucky I think we can do a good tournament everywhere—here or Wimbledon. Here was not possible but for him I think his level is for making a good tournament.”

While believing that Nadal is in good enough health and form to win at Wimbledon, it sounds like his coach believes that the ultimate success or failure of his charge will come down to self-belief. If Nadal can find his big-point swagger, he’s in good enough form to press for the title.

If not, disappointment awaits.

“For me it’s a good possibility to show a good Rafael now at Wimbledon,” he said. “I know when you arrive at Wimbledon without a Grand Slam title—it’s the first time in ten, eleven years that we arrive there without winning a Grand Slam—then the confidence is not the same. The confidence in tennis and more in grass is very important, because all changes in one moment, and when you have confidence you hit the ball and the ball goes on the line and when you don’t have confidence you hit the ball and the ball goes outside."

Photo Source: Jordan Mansfield/Getty

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