Nadal’s longtime coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, admits that it will be very hard for his nephew to reach the same heights of 2017 next year.
The world number 1 returned with a bang in 2017, capturing both the French and US Open titles as he returned to the top of the world rankings.
While Carlos Moya and Francisco Roig now serve as the Spaniard’s main coaches, Toni Nadal still keeps a close eye on his nephew’s progress while working at their academy in Mallorca, and he feels that with so many top players expected to return from injury next year, it will be much harder for Nadal to dominate as much as he did in 2017.
“This year has been it happens that Djokovic has not been at his best and Murray either, and (Stan) Wawrinka, (Kei) Nishikori and (Milos) Raonic have also had problems,” Toni said.
“Next year it will be difficult to win many titles, although I hope Rafael continues to prove he is the best on the clay and win again Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Roland Garros.”
Nadal shared the spotlight with Roger Federer, who also had a wonderful comeback season in 2017, and while the great Swiss also picked up two Grand Slam titles of his own to remain three clear of Nadal, Toni expects his nephew to eventually surpass Federer’s record.
“I trust that Rafa will last long enough to beat Federer’s record,” he added.
With the Australian Open billed to start next month, and all the big guns prepping for a return, Nadal will definitely be having a tough challenge. But the Spanish Bull has always delivered and he’ll certainly be looking to prove his coach/uncle wrong.