Ever since Rafael Nadal burst onto the tennis scene, his uncle cum coach Toni has been by his side. Toni has been in Rafael’s corner right though his 19 Grand Slam titles and has thus, even followed the other top players closely. None more so than Roger Federer, arguably Rafael’s greatest rival.

In a recent interview with Eurosport’s Players’ Cut Programme, Toni spoke about how much he admires Federer’s game and what make’s the Swiss “the best” at the moment.

“For me, he (Federer) is a wonderful player,” said Toni. “I like to watch Roger Federer a lot, If I wasn’t the uncle nor the coach of Rafael, I would want Federer to win all the matches. But in the end, I like how he plays, because he’s very elegant but he’s very effective too.

“I know Federer is the best ever with I don’t know who; maybe Rod Laver or maybe Rafael, he’s not too far (behind). But at the moment Federer is the best.”

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Earlier this year, Toni had shared his thoughts on why the younger players are struggling to challenge the ‘Big Three’ – Federer, Nadal and Novak Djokovic – consistently.

“Why are Rafael and Djokovic and Federer still there? Because the young ones are not too good,” Toni had said. “This is the first reason. And this is something that we have to think – at least it makes me think.”

He added: “When Rafael was young, we had tennis racquets, some balls, some sparring – sometimes good, sometimes not too good – and we had not too many things.

“Now, to play tennis, we need some video analysis, we need biomechanical analysis, we need statistical studies, we need a nutritionist and when we lose some matches, what happens? We need some psychology.

“What happened? It’s very simple – they are not too good. It’s nothing else. Many years ago, a girl asked me why I keep making this mistake? I said ‘it’s because I am not good enough’. But today, no. Today, when we lose some matches we go to the psychologist and the psychologist says: ‘Oh, you have to imagine this and this and only these things.’ Unbelievable.”