Rafael Nadal's teenage cousins win first professional matches
Toni Nadal introduced his nephew Rafa into tennis at a young age, taught him how to play, respect the opponent and always draw the most from himself.
After every notable result, Toni would show Rafa the list of previous champions, explaining that many are not in the game anymore, as they didn't work hard enough. Giving 120% on the court, Rafa started a pro career at 15 and moved to the verge of the top-200 by the end of 2003. In 2004, the young Spaniard toppled world no. 1 Roger Federer in Miami and claimed the first ATP title in Sopot in August.
Nadal claimed the first Major trophy and four Masters 1000 crowns in 2005 and became world no. 2 and Roger Federer's closest rival. The rest is history, as Toni and Rafa forged a perfect coach-player combo that claimed many titles and records until 2017 when Toni decided to quit the coaching job and return to Mallorca as the leading figure of Rafa Nadal Academy.
Toni's sons Toni and Joan are entering the world of tennis too, with both teenagers earning a qualifying wild card at this week's ITF M15 event at Nadal's Academy in Manacor. In the opening qualifying round, Toni Nadal defeated a teenager from Luxembourg Lennart Melzer 6-2, 6-2, while Joan Nadal prevailed against Denis Klok 6-2, 5-7, 10-8.