(Reuters) – Toni Nadal, the man who mastered Rafa’s amazing nephew’s career, returns to the Tour as part of the training team of Felix Auger-Aliassime, a young Canadian.
Nadal, 60, decided to step down as Rafa’s coach in 2017 and focus on running the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca.
But he has been tempted by the opportunity to work with the 20-year-old player and will be in his camp for next week’s Monte Carlo Masters – the tournament in which Nadal made his major breakthrough in 2005 before claiming the first of Its 13 French Open titles a few weeks later.
Auger-Aliassime, ranked No. 22, confirmed that Toni Nadal will be joining his team in a Zoom call on Thursday.
“I’ll be working with Toni starting from this tournament,” said Auger-Aliassime, who is coached by Frederic Fontang.
“I sat down with Fred and my team and parents and thought to myself that it would be good to approach someone who has been at the highest level of our sport, who has been to where I want to go .
“It’s really gaining advice and experience and just working day to day to become a better player. I know there’s no gadget or secret recipe or you just click your fingers and things work out. “
Touted as a potential Grand Slam champion, Auger-Aliassime has yet to enjoy a groundbreaking moment and has lost the seven ATP finals he has fought.
He first went to Toni Nadal in Mallorca in December after going there to train.
“Our values and work ethic really align so for me that’s a great thing personally and I’m glad it’s part of my project and I hope we can do great things in the future,” he said .
For Toni Nadal it is an unexpected change of path after choosing to step aside as a coach on Tour in 2017.
“I never thought about working for someone else,” he said. “For me it’s a wonderful thing to work with a guy like Felix, first of all a highly educated player, a player who can become one of the best players in the world and become a champion in major tournaments.
“We can’t work with someone unless they are respectful, and have good values because I had the luck to work all my life with a child who was very respectful and gave a very good image wherever he went.
“Now I have the possibility to work with a man who believes in the same thing, to get better, work hard every day.”
Nadal emphasized that if Auger-Aliassime played his nephew in the coming months he would not be in either box.
“If (Rafa) has to lose to someone then I’d rather he lose to Felix,” he said. “I am still an uncle and have many years of involvement with him.
“Hopefully Felix will be number one in the future. For now he needs to keep getting better and I’m still Rafa’s uncle. ”