I love tennis.  Watching tennis, playing tennis.  It is such a mental game, it is the closest thing to two boxers in a ring or two gladiators fighting to the death in a colosseum.  (If you saw Wimbledon 2008 Nadal vs. Federer, you know what I mean.)  

So if you know I love tennis, you know I love Rafa Nadal.  Besides Nadal’s status as GOAT, he has one of the most brilliant and unorthodox coaches the tour has seen. Toni Nadal, simply Uncle Toni to everyone, has been coaching Rafa since he was 4 years old. 

Uncle Toni’s lessons on tennis were also lessons on life.  He is famous for prohibiting Rafa to fly on private jets, or to have an assistant carry his belongings while traveling;  from Nadal’s youth he stressed that he never celebrate a win, never lament a loss;  every game is just another game. Most of all he stressed the need to endure, and always give your best. 

Uncle Toni’s philosophy brings both the wisdom of the Dalai Lama and the Force of Obi Wan Kenobi.  His first bit of advice to his nephew, aged 4, was “Hit the ball hard;  then we will see about keeping it in.” 

Here are a few more Uncle Toni-isms:

“It is more important to be a good person than a good player.”

“People sometimes exaggerate this business of humility. It is a question simply of knowing who you are, where you are, and that the world will continue exactly as it is without you.” 

“What you can never allow is to fail because of loss of will.”

"It means learning to accept that if you have to train 2 hours, you train 2 hours...If you have to train 5, you train 5.  If you have to repeat an exercise fifty thousand times, you do it.  That's what separates the champions from the merely talented."

“You’ve got two roads to choose from:  tell yourself you’ve had enough and we leave, or be prepared to suffer and keep going.  The choice is between enduring and giving up.”