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'I told Rafael Nadal that Roger Federer had a better forehand, backhand, and serve than him...'

Former coach recalls an early final between the two legends as their epic rivalry grew.
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer

Toni Nadal says he was once asked by Rafael Nadal to stop telling him how good Roger Federer was because it was 'depressing him.'

Speaking to Eurosport France, Toni was discussing some memories of matches between the big three, and one in particular came to mind.

It was the 2006 final of the Monte Carlo Masters, in which a 19-year-old Rafael Nadal was up against the much more established Roger Federer.

"Before taking the field I told him it would be very difficult," Toni recalls.

"'Federer has a better forehand and backhand than you , as well as serve.'

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"He asked me to stop so as not to depress him, but I replied: 'If you want, I could even tell you a lie, but Federer won't tell you lies in that hour and a half.

"'Now that we know the starting conditions, we need to start thinking about what to do and making things easier.'

"Well, he played every point as if it were match points, as if he were playing life."

It obviously worked, with Nadal claiming a memorable 6-2, 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) win over the Swiss legend.

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