Rafael Nadal's uncle Toni Nadal has bid farewell to his association with his nephew as a coach, in a year which has been one of his most fulfilling experiences in his 27 years in the world of tennis. Nadal ended the year with seven titles to his name, including two Grand Slams – the French Open and the US Open.
The Spaniard also saw off the challenge from his long-time rival Roger Federer to seal the year-end number one ranking in the penultimate event of the season – the Paris Masters – and will hope to maintain his spot at the summit of the ATP rankings in 2018.
Rafael and Toni have won everything there is to win – 16 Grand Slams, 30 Masters Series titles and two Olympic gold medals in the singles and doubles events – making it a career Golden Slam. Rafa is only the second men's singles player to do it – with Andre Agassi being the other.
The ATP Finals title is the only one that has evaded the Spaniard, having succumbed in the finals on two occasions in 2010 and 2013 to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, respectively. Nadal had a chance to end the run this year but was forced to pull out with a knee injury after losing his first game to David Goffin.
"The Masters Cup of this last week has been the finishing touch to my career as coach of my nephew Rafael. I conclude a happy stage of 27 years that began the day when the son of my brother Sebastian entered my tennis court when he was only three years old. Today, I leave yours but my path does not end here," the senior Nadal wrote in Spanish outlet El Pais, as quoted by the Express.
"I will continue to be linked to tennis because my enthusiasm and love for this sport, fortunately, remain intact. I must acknowledge and thank greatly, the person most responsible for my luck: my nephew Rafael. The relationship with him has always been uncharacteristically easy within the world in which we move.
"Thanks to his education, respect and passion, I have been able to unfold my way of understanding this profession. Thanks to him, I have lived experiences that have surpassed all my dreams as a coach. I have travelled by his side to incredible sites and I have met relevant and interesting people from many fields.
"Today, I feel greatly valued and loved because his figure has magnified mine much more than I deserve," Toni added.