In a column for El Pais, the former Rafael Nadal’s coach Toni Nadal commented on what makes the Australian Open special. Toni has not been going to Melbourne since 2017 as at the end of that year he stopped being his nephew’s coach.
But he clearly has a lot of memories with that place. ‘This year, without any doubt, we will miss David Ferrer’s appearance after his 16 appearances in a row‘, wrote Toni. ‘I remember his debut, in 2003, just a year after us, and I recall an essency of things in an simply unbelievable tournament.
And looking back, I saw that the tennis world, like life in general, sacrificed aspects in its technological evolution that, at least for me, is a happiness. At that first time, when I was out of the tournaments, the co-living with other tennis players and coaches was bigger than now.
We often stayed with other tennis players, especially Spanish or Argentineans, to go having dinner and then coming back to the hotel’s hall. The players until a certain time; the coaches, the same. We spoke a lot about tennis, obviously, we shared opinions, we commented the matches of the day and we were telling things that could improve our knowledges.
Nowadays, tennis players, depending on their rankings position, increased their teams and have a more close circle. Everyone has their own camp, their particular training sessions, their connection with their people and they especially have data, much more data that leave less margin to your point of view and mistakes as well.
We have all the analysis, studies and statistics that replace our thoughts. We became more professional and less romantic. On one of these days at the time, Gabriel Urpi, who is one of the best coaches that our country has been having – former coach of Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, Conchita Martínez and Flavia Pennetta—, made a commentary holding a high voice on our way to Melbourne.
“People would pay to come here, in Australia, in mid-summer, in an amazing site. And we are paid! We are lucky! ” ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal: Worse players than David Ferrer won a Grand Slam title