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Momentous day for tennis in Jordan with coach Nadal

By Aline Bannayan - Sep 23,2017 - Last updated at Sep 23,2017

Legendaery tennis coach Tony Nadal (centre) poses with kids at the 3rd annual Lexus Tennis Festival at the the Tennis Academy Amman on Friday (Photo by Aline Bannayan)

AMMAN — Tennis enthusiasts had the chance to meet the most successful coach in the history of tennis — Tony Nadal — who was the guest of honour at the 3rd annual Lexus Tennis Festival which concluded in Amman on the weekend.

It will surely be an event to remember, especially for the kids and coaches who had the chance to get some tips during sessions from the legendary coach, who is the uncle and mentor of Spain’s World No. 1 Rafael Nadal.

Fans wasted no chances for selfies with the world’s most successful tennis coach who was the guest of honour at the week-long event organised by the Tennis Academy Amman TAA and held under the patronage of HRH Princess Lara Al Faisal.

In an interview with The Jordan Times during the Family Tennis Day on Friday, Nadal underlined that success was a combination of “passion and dedication” to the sport.

“Even when you do not expect it, a champion can be there. If the coaches are passionate about their sport, athletes who are serious can become champions,” Nadal underlined.

Nadal who met part of the enthusiastic team from the TAA in Mallorca at the Rafa Nadal Academy this summer, said passionate coaches make successful athletes. The coach, who always enjoyed working with young athletes, said he was happy to attend the festival in Amman adding: “I enjoyed sharing not only my knowledge and experience, but also my love and passion for this sport.”

Born in Mallorca, Spain, Antonio Nadal, is considered the most successful tennis coach in terms of Grand Slam titles in the history of the game. Better known as “Uncle Toni” by tennis lovers worldwide, he has earned a total of 16 Grand Slams with his nephew Rafael, including 10 French Open titles, 3 US Open, 2 Wimbledon and 1 Australian Open title. Their partnership has lasted 27 years, one of the longest and most successful coach-player duos in sports history.

Rafael Nadal was three years old when he began working under the tutelage of his uncle who turned a righty into a lefty on the court. Rafael has now won more than 70 titles and 850 matches under his uncle’s guidance. With Carlos Maya now taking on the job, Tony Nadal will now concentrate on the Rafa Nadal Academy. 

Sports Illustrated noted a story on the coach’s style and Nadal’s success. “In the locker room after a practice session in 2010, Uncle Toni asked his nephew where he’d placed his water bottle. When Rafa responded sheepishly that he’d left it on the court, his uncle shook his head. The world’s best player didn’t summon a tournament employee, but sprinted back onto the court himself to fetch a bottle he’d forgotten. He won the US Open a few days later.”

In this spirit, the TTA also believes that its mission is to build champions both on and off the court, with the firm belief that tennis builds character, teaches perseverance, and has the power to mold a whole new generation of athletes. 

TAA founder and director Khalid Naffa underlined that the continued support of partners and sponsors, and noted the long-lasting partnerships with the best coaches, academies and players in the world “to lean on their wealth of expertise to take our players to the highest levels of the game”.

Last year, the guest of honour was Moroccan Karim Alami, who retired in 2002. As a junior, he reached World No.2 in singles and World No. 1 in doubles.

In 2015, the festival featured an exhibition match between top international players former World No. 13 Jarkko Nieminen and Tunisian tennis star Malek Jaziri, as well as a Family Tennis Day with legendary and multiple Grand Slam champion Mary Pierce. The French champion, is a winner of four Grand Slam titles, including the 1995 singles Australian Open, the 2000 singles French Open, the 2000 doubles French Open, and the 2005 mixed doubles Wimbledon title.

 

The eight-day Tennis Festival, featured local tournaments open to all age groups, the Amman Masters tournament featuring for the first time, internationally ranked female players, and the Family Tennis Day.

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