Nadal’s uncle makes Mourinho comparison and provides fitness update

Wimbledon: Rafael Nadal struggles through injury in July

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Rafael Nadal’s uncle Toni has revealed he doesn’t offer his nephew advice anymore – insisting it would be ‘inappropriate’, as though Jose Mourinho still commented on life at Real Madrid. The 36-year-old is still going strong as he enters the twilight of his career. And he’ll be hopeful of winning more Grand Slam titles this year amid his ongoing battle for supremacy with Novak Djokovic.

Nadal hasn’t played a competitive match since being dumped out of the Australian Open in the second round of the competition back in January.

But he’s still hoping to achieve more titles this year, with the veteran and Novak Djokovic currently tied on 22 Grand Slams.

Toni previously coached Nadal between 1990 and 2017, helping his nephew win 16 majors in the process.

And he’s now claimed he’s stopped offering his relative advice, making a comparison with Mourinho in the process.

“We usually see each other a lot,” he told Marca. “Obviously it has changed because I am not in his day to day.

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“I have a normal uncle relationship.

“It’s not up to me, I think it’s not appropriate, it’s as if Mourinho was making a comment about Real Madrid now.”

Nadal will be hoping to win a remarkable 15th Grand Slam at the French Open later in the year as he battles to regain full fitness.

And Toni thinks the veteran is ‘much better’, though stopped short of saying when the champion would return to the court.

“I think he’s much better, but it’s unknown. Let’s not fool ourselves, when he goes to compete he needs certain guarantees that he can win,” he added.

“I don’t think he’ll go out and play if he doesn’t look (better). I am convinced that it will go well. He is excited.”

Due to his recent absence from the tour, Nadal has dropped out of the top 10 of the ATP rankings.

He’d previously occupied the top slots for a record 912 consecutive weeks, which is over 17 years.

However, Toni is adamant his nephew is unfazed by that and believes Nadal still has the desire to win the biggest titles on offer.

“He is aware that to be in the top 10 you have to play constantly,” stated the 62-year-old. “He knew this was going to happen.

“It’s not a thing that worries him too much either.

“The important thing is that when he goes out to play he feels convinced that he can win and is on the way to achieve it, knowing that things every year are more difficult.”

At the start of the month, meanwhile, Nadal was coy when quizzed on when he’d be back in action.

“I do not know yet. I had a major breakdown in Australia and I don’t have a return date,” Nadal said while watching Real Madrid tackle Barcelona in the Copa del Rey.

“It is taking me time and a lot of work to recover.”

He continued: “I am doing weekly check-ups. We will have to see how I evolve, but I’m not here today, we’ll see.

“I am recovering. I do as much work as I can every day to recover as well as possible.

“I go day by day. I don’t know when I’ll be back, when I’m fine. And then we will have to have a little patience.

“I hurt my muscle, I tore a bit of my tendon in a very complicated place, the psoas, because in tennis we get strength from there.

“It is a slower evolution than we would like, but there is no choice but to be a little patient.”

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