Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Nadal is not special... says his uncle

Humble: Rafael Nadal's French Open record can be matched

Rafael Nadal's incredible records at the French Open can be matched because he is "not special", according to his coach and uncle Toni.

On Sunday, Nadal fought back from a set down to defeat Novak Djokovic and win his ninth title at Roland Garros in 10 years.

His dominance of the tournament is unprecedented, with the Spaniard's only loss from his 67 matches on the Paris clay coming in 2009 to Robin Soderling.

Nadal's humility owes a lot to Toni's tough love approach.

After watching his nephew lift a ninth Coupe des Mousquetaires, Toni said: "It's incredible for me. To win here nine titles is unbelievable. Many years ago I can't think that Rafael could win nine titles.

"What Rafael has done, I'm sure that another one can do the same. Rafael is not special.

"Another guy can do the same, but it's not easy. Because nine years winning a difficult tournament like this is very tough. It's difficult to win one, to win nine in 10 years is unbelievable.

"He's not special, he's a very good player I think, but not more than this."

Nadal's ninth French Open was his 14th grand slam title overall, drawing him level with Pete Sampras in second place on the all-time list.

He is now only three behind Roger Federer, who is almost five years older, but Toni does not expect Nadal to pass the Swiss.

"It's very difficult," he said. "Rafael is not too young and to win each tournament is really difficult."

Nadal is now focused on making up for last year's first-round defeat at Wimbledon.

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