In many cases, it’s the parents who play a major role in the development of a tennis player, be it a father like Richard Williams with Venus and Serena, or a mother like Gloria Connors with Jimmy.
But in Rafael Nadal’s case, the family member who has helped shape his tennis most has not been his father or mother. Instead, the man known to the world as “Uncle Toni” has been the one at the helm. For more than 20 years, Toni has been front and center on Team Rafa.
Jon Wertheim now pays tribute to one of the more intriguing people in recent tennis history.
In 2009, Jon Wertheim wrote a superb book titled “Strokes of Genius” – a very thoughtful look at Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, their lives and rivalry examined through the prism of the incredible 2008 Wimbledon final that was won by Nadal, 9-7 in the fifth.
Now it’s certainly logical for Jon at one point to have pondered adding an extra chapter or two. But who’d have thought that, nearly a decade later, he might even have to consider a whole other volume? As the world knows, for Roger and Rafa, 2017 could be called “Seems Like Old Times.” But as Jon now points out, the possibility also exists that these two could soon well be entering entirely new territory.
One of the most accomplished sports journalists in America, Jon Wertheim brings his unique voice and insight to his weekly feature Unstrung.