Rafael Nadal told when juggling tennis and fatherhood will be ‘hard’

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Rafael Nadal’s uncle Toni has spoken for the first time since the world No 2 and his wife Mery Perello became parents. The pair reportedly welcomed a son named ‘Rafael’ over the weekend, and Nadal’s uncle and former coach has admitted that he believes his nephew will struggle when he departs for January’s Australian Open.

Nadal and his wife welcomed their first child over the weekend according to reports, and the Spaniard’s uncle Toni has now told Europa Press that the family are “doing well”. The world No 2 has not played an official tour event since the US Open after Perello was said to be experiencing difficulties with her first pregnancy, and admitted he was dealing with a tough personal situation when he came to the Laver Cup for Roger Federer’s retirement.

It remains to be seen whether the 22-time Grand Slam champion will play again this season, as he is still entered in the Paris Masters 1000 and has qualified for the ATP Finals, but his uncle and former coach has now opened up on how he believes the 36-year-old will fare as a father on the tour.

“He is doing well, he is animated, waiting now, he knows that there is little to go and he is looking forward to everything going well,” Toni said, giving an update on his nephew. “Mery had to rest, but nothing in particular.”

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The current coach of Felix Auger-Aliassime thought that Nadal would be able to juggle tennis and fatherhood like his Big Three rivals, that the difficulty would come when the two-time Aussie Open champion headed Down Under at the start of the 2023 season. “I think he will do it completely normally, he is not a special guy,” Toni said of Nadal being a father while still playing.

“Djokovic, Federer have done it and footballers do it constantly. Obviously, at first, I imagine that when you have to go to Australia, it will be a bit hard to let go of the family, the son and the wife, but in the end it is the price you have to pay.”

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And Nadal’s coach until 2018 joked that the Spaniard wouldn’t be able to be as good of a father as he is a tennis player because of his ability on the court. “I imagine he will be a good father, I also imagine that he will not be as good a father as he is a good athlete, because as an athlete he is one of the best in the world,” Toni laughed.

Nadal will be seen on court before the end of the year as he has announced an exhibition tour in South America with world No 3 Casper Ruud, and the pair are set to visit Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil over November and December.

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