Nobody knows tennis star Rafael Nadal more than his uncle Toni, at least as far as his career goes. Toni Nadal has been the driving force behind the 22-time Grand Slam winner's success, and has admitted that now that Rafa has become a father, it will be difficult for him to continue his professional career in the same pace as in previous years.

However, Toni also knows that no one is more dedicated, hard working and professional than his nephew. As such, even with a growing family, the 36-year-old will be expected to do his best if he agrees to participate in any events in the future. "Rafael Nadal will try to go on normally. There are so many athletes who have continued their activity after becoming parents, he will follow their example," said Toni, as quoted by Tennis World USA.

Despite this, Rafa's descision-making when it comes to which events to attend will likely be affected. It is one thing to shuttle between Mallorca and some European cities for a few days, and an entirely different thing to travel across the globe for weeks at a time. "When he has to go to Australia next January, it will be difficult to get away from his son, but it is the price that you have to pay." Toni said.

Toni also spoke up about Roger Federer's recent retirement. He said that it was definitely emotional, but everyone knew that it was coming due to the Swiss star's age and his injury troubles.

Rafa is catching up on the age department, and he has also been plagued with various injuries. Despite this, he amazed the entire tennis community after clinching victories at two Grand Slams this year in Australia and Roland Garros.

In the latter half of 2022, he suffered an abdominal tear that compromised his Wimbledon and US Open runs. After that, he had to rush home to be with his wife. He took a quick trip to see off Federer at the Laver Cup, but played only one match and went back to his wife's side to await their baby's birth.

Nadal's priorities are clearly shifting, with Toni also more involved with the Rafa Nadal Academy rather than joining his nephew during competitions. The tennis world is not ready, but it certainly seems that the inevitable is fast approaching.

For now, he still appears to have a busy tour schedule ahead of him. Rafa is expected to play at the Masters 1000 event in Paris-Bercy and the ATP Finals. After that, he will head to South America. It remains to be seen if he will continue to spend this much time away from home in 2023 and beyond.

Roger Federer
Roger Federer (right) and Rafael Nadal attend a practice session ahead of the 2022 Laver Cup in London AFP / Glyn KIRK