RAFAEL NADAL’S cousins took their first steps in following the tennis great by securing their first professional wins this week.
Toni, 17, and Joan, 16, are the sons of Nadal’s legendary coach and uncle Toni.
Toni, left, and Joan, right, won their first pro tennis matches at an ITF event in MallorcaCredit: Twitter
The brothers are the younger cousins of tennis legend Rafael NadalCredit: AFP or licensors
And just like their older cousin, the boys have clearly benefited from his guidance.
Joan made his pro debut last week after receiving a wildcard at an ITF event at the Rafa Nadal Academy, where the pair train.
Unfortunately, he went down 6-1, 6-3 to Turkey’s Kuzey Cekirge but bounced back to beat world No661 Denis Klok 6-2 5-7 10-8 in the first round of qualifying at another ITF M15 in Manacor.
At the same stage of the same tournament, his older brother Toni made his debut and beat Luxembourg’s Lennart Melzer 6-2 6-2.
The teenage brothers both lost in the second round in straight sets but there will be plenty of excitement around the pair.
Although expecting them to emulate the tennis achievements of their cousin Rafa may be unrealistic.
Aged 15, Nadal won his first match, beating Ramon Delgado, also in Mallorca, way back in 2002.
He earned the world No5 ranking while he was still 18 and two days after his 19th birthday, he won the first of his record-equalling 20 Grand Slams.
Nadal has racked up more than 1,000 ATP wins – the majority coming with uncle Toni as coach before he stepped away from the camp to focus on the academy.
It is not just in tennis that the Nadal family has a legacy.
Rafa, Toni and Joan’s uncle Miguel Angel Nadal enjoyed a successful football career, playing more than 200 league games for Barcelona and representing the Spanish national team 62 times.
He won 16 trophies in Spain including five LaLigas and the European Cup with Barcelona and the 2003 Copa del Rey with Mallorca.