Toni Nadal says one key thing separates Novak Djokovic from Rafael Nadal

Toni Nadal also names the greatest player ever.
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Toni Nadal has never been one to be a Rafael Nadal "yes man." He obviously cares for his nephew but sugar-coating things helps no one. If Rafael needed to fix something when Toni coached him then Toni told him. This helped Rafael, already blessed with immense physical skill, improve mentally and helped him better prepare for matches.

But Toni Nadal does not think Rafael is the greatest player ever. He believes Novak Djokovic is. While that might seem an implication of a harsh critique of Rafael, in truth, there is no brutal observation about his nephew at all. Rafael Nadal is not the best player ever, according to Toni, in part because Rafael followed Toni's advice.

The numbers do not lie either, of course. Djokovic has spent 424 weeks atop the ATP rankings, 114 more (and counting) than second-place Roger Federer. Nadal has spent 209 weeks at No. 1 and is extremely unlikely to ever reach that peak again. Djokovic also has the most Grand Slams ever with 24 while Nadal is second with 22. Djokovic also has the most Masters 1000 victories with 40.

Toni Nadal believes Novak Djokovic is ultimately greater than Rafael Nadal

But did all that winning by Djokovic come at a cost to his personal life? In a recent interview, and according to Tennis365, Toni might think so. He advised his nephew at a young age to not be "too professional" and even though he should always give his all on the court, he did not want tennis to be the beginning and end of every day of his life. Djokovic, however, might have lived that for a long time.

Toni Nadal said, "I think Djokovic has always wanted to be the best in history. Rafael always led a normal life, he played tennis, lived and ate normally...I got used to it at first, because I thought it was good for him in his formative years...When you’re at the highest level, it’s different. For example, Djokovic has been much more careful about his diet...But the question is not who wants to be the best, but who is willing to pay the highest price to be the best."

In other words, because of Novak Djokovic's need to have almost everything in his life, including exactly how he ate, to be controlled by the thought of potential tennis success, the Serb was willing to do anything it took to be the best. His continual drive to win - maybe his absolute need to win - dictated every aspect of his life.

One could argue the way Djokovic micromanaged his life does not sound like much fun. Maybe to most people, his off-court life would not be for most. But for someone who has the singular vision to be the best at something then sacrifices must be made. If that makes that individual person happy then who is to argue with how they got there?

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