Uncle of former world number one Rafael Nadal, Toni, has stated that he is worried about the state of next-generation players.
The 62-year-old has worked closely with the Spaniard over the years and has played a key part in helping him achieve great things on the court.
Toni was recently quoted in a report where he stated that he is concerned about the state of upcoming players, especially their mental toughness which according to him is not on par with the greats of the past.
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“The teams behind the players have become so large, so many stats, analysis, nutritionists and mental health coaches,” he said. “And it is the latter [mental health coaches] that I believe are the cause for so many young players getting frustrated and being unable to handle defeat and the pressure.
“Rafa never had a mental health coach, never mind a nutritionist. I'm not his mother, I don't know what he ate or eats or how much he weighs. It used to be just Rafa and I. Some days I would play him with used old balls, take him to poor quality courts to train and forget to take water so he could be mentally strong and get used to accepting defeat and making mistakes. And I used to tell him when he was making mistakes.
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“Today there's too much information it's confusing, and it's all about positive criticism. That does not always work; on the contrary, it leads to greater frustration for players when they lose. It's a case of dusting yourself down and training more, working harder, constantly improving your game and moving on to the next tournament.
“That's what I always instilled in Rafa and that's why he's so mentally strong. There will be very few players ever as good as Federer, for example, he played the perfect game but Rafa beat him. It's about hitting the ball as hard as you can, as if your life depends on every shot. It's a championship ball, getting the ball in, moving around the court, adjusting the movement of the ball and don't help the other player beat you.”