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Rafael Nadal’s uncle Toni admits he cheats by coaching during matches

Toni NadalToni Nadal admitted what everyone already knows: he breaks ATP Tour rules by coaching his nephew Rafael during matches.

Tennis players are not allowed to be coached during matches per ATP Tour and grand slam rules, but “Uncle Toni” has long been advising and guiding his nephew during matches.

“Hablo con Rafel durante los partidos. Ya sé que no está muy permitido pero considero que a mi edad, tampoco tengo que esconderme,” Toni Nadal told Spanish journalist David Nadal recently.

The translation for that comment is: I talk to Rafa during matches. I know that it’s not allowed, but I think that at my age I have nothing to hide.

Toni is Rafa’s longtime coach and introduced the star to the game when his nephew was very young. He is a regular in the player’s box and there have long been complaints about him coaching his nephew during matches. At Wimbledon in 2010, Toni received a warning from the chair umpire for coaching Rafa. Roger Federer infamously complained during a match at Rome in 2006 about Toni coaching Rafa.

“He was coaching a little bit too much again today. I caught him in the act. I told him many times already, through the entire match in Monaco, but it seems like they don’t keep a close enough eye on him,” Federer said at the time.

Toni responded by saying the rule was the problem, not him.

“I think all the sports make an evolution,” he said. “It’s not natural that you pay a coach and this coach travels to Australia and to New York to watch his player and he can’t say nothing.”

Will tennis adjust the rules because they know coaches are breaking them? I doubt it. Maybe if Uncle Toni cares about being more discreet — which it seems like he doesn’t — then he could try this approach.

Racquet clap to Tennis.com
Photo: Twitter/poderdeldeporte



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  • faulknerster

    As a Nadal fan I can admit that I am a Toni hater. He’s pompous as hell. However, it is a silly rule. Tennis is the only big sport where there’s no coaching allowed during play. The sport needs to evolve. Allow on court coaching during matches and get rid of the deuce point to make sure matches don’t last five hours. The sport has to make some drastic changes if it’s gonna hold on to the popularity it has and appeal to future generations. It’s a great sport that can feel stagnant if you’re not invested in who’s playing.

  • evan2k

    Toni said he is talking to Nadal, not coaching Nadal. That’s a big difference.

  • Toni Nadal Hater

    This is …… Already known..

  • pcafe

    Most people don’t get Uncle Toni. The language differences are a problem. Of course he yells out stuff to Nadal. They all do. Novak D’s coach has blatantly given instructions and coached when Novak approaches his box while on court. This stuff is much ado about nothing. Do you really think that the coach and player haven’t already “played the match” in prep for the actual match? Stupido to think that there is anything new to give to player in the “heat of battle.” Pretty funny to make an issue of a non-issue. Hahaha — follow the game from early juniors to the height of the pros…..there is much to learn for you.