Toni Nadal returns to the ATP Tour as coach of the young Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, 20 years old. The manacorí will act as director of the Rafa Nadal Academy, where he was with the North American for ten days in December 2020.
Nadal, 60, is already in Monte Carlo advising Auger-Aliassime, who trains with the French Frederic fontang.
“I sat down with Fred, my team and my parents and I thought it would be good to go with someone who has been at the highest level of our sport, who has been where I want to go,” explains the tennis player.
“It’s really about getting advice and experience, working every day to become a better player. I know there is no secret recipe or that you just click your fingers and things work. “
Considered a potential Grand Slam champion, Auger-Aliassime has yet to enjoy a defining moment and has lost all seven ATP finals he has played.
Our values and work ethic really align
Toni Nadal underlines that “our values and work ethic really align, so for me that is a great thing personally and I am glad that it is part of my project and I hope that we can do great things in the future,” he said.
For Toni Nadal it represents an unexpected change of course after choosing to step aside as a coach in 2017. “I have never considered working for someone else before. For me it is wonderful to work with someone like Felix, first a very educated player who can become one of the best players in the world and become champion of great tournaments ”.
“I could not work with someone unless they are respectful, and have good values because I was lucky to work all my life with a boy who was very respectful and gave a very good image wherever he went,” he recalls about Rafa Nadal. “Now I have the possibility to work with a boy who believes in the same, to improve, to work hard every day.”
If Rafa has to lose against someone, let it be against Felix
Toni Nadal will not be in any of the boxes if there is a duel between Rafa Nadal and Felix Auger-Aliassime. “I will not be on either of the two benches. If Rafa has to lose against someone, let it be against Felix, but I am still his uncle and they have been in a relationship for many years,” he warned.
”I hope that Felix is number one in the future. For now he needs to keep improving and I’m still Rafa’s uncle ”.