S.O de RG - Toni parle de Paris et de Roland....01 juin 2015
Toni Nadal, Rafael Nadal's uncle and coach, has a special connection with the French Open and Paris. He tells us how he spends his time in the City of Love.
Toni, do you remember the first time you saw the French Open on television?
Before I even came here for the first time, I remember I watched the French Open a lot on television. I was impressed with each of Borg's six wins. Actually, when he beat Ivan Lendl in 1981, I was in Paris. Not at the French Open, but I watched the match at my hotel. I remember that year well because he had quite a few problems - it just made his win even more special. I also remember his first win over Manuel Orantes of course - that one went to five sets.
When was the first time you came to the French Open?
In 2005, with Rafael. We should have come in 2004, but Rafael injured his ankle before the tournament (editor's note: Nadal got a stress fracture in Estoril). Wait, it was in 2003 that we should have come, but the night before we were supposed to leave, he fell over (editor's note: injuring his elbow). I remember 2005 very well. We had high hopes because Rafael had won a lot of matches on clay. He'd won at Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome, so he was one of the favourites, along with Roger Federer, of course. I remember when we got the draw and saw that he'd probably face Richard Gasquet in the third round. We thought, "Uh oh, we have a problem". Because Gasquet almost beat Rafael at the semis in Monte Carlo (editor's note: Nadal won 6-7, 6-4, 6-3). So we knew it would be complicated.
Since then, you've come to know Roland-Garros like the back of your hand. What's your favourite place in the stadium?
I love everything. Being here is amazing. I love being in Paris, being at Roland-Garros, seeing the atmosphere here - being at a tournament where Rafael plays especially well... So there are plenty of places I like at the stadium (he smiles). I enjoy being on the practice courts, on Philippe-Chatrier Court, in the changing rooms.... The changing rooms are really nice, and the people who work there are always ready to help. I love everything about the French Open.
Do you get time to see Paris while you're here for the tournament?
Yes, definitely. Every year, I visit Paris on foot. I love walking in the city. I leave our hotel, which is just off the Champs-Elysées, and I walk all the way to Montmartre. From Montmartre, I walk to the Boulevard Saint-Michel. And from there, I walk to Notre-Dame, the Jardin du Luxembourg or the Panthéon. I know Paris pretty well by now!
So you're almost a Parisian now?
It's true, over the years, I've gotten to know Paris well. I've been here plenty of times, not just for tennis. And as I said, I love walking here, I walk a lot. (He smiles.) But I'll never be Parisian - I'm Majorcan through and through!
Read more at http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/news/articles/2015-06-01/toni_nadal_on_his_love_of_paris.html#3DuJVRrz9FZfUhrJ.99