Toni Nadal to work with Felix Auger-Aliassime: Rafa’s uncle makes ATP Tour return

Toni Nadal, uncle and long-time coach to 13-time French Open champion Rafa, is returning to the Tour as part of the coaching team of Felix Auger-Aliassime; the 20-year-old has reached the fourth round of the Australian and US Opens but he has also lost all seven ATP finals he has contested

Last Updated: 08/04/21 7:41pm

Toni Nadal, uncle to Rafa, is to start working with Canadian youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime

Toni Nadal, the man who masterminded nephew Rafa’s incredible career, is returning to the ATP Tour as part of the coaching team of Canadian youngster Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The world No 22 said Nadal, uncle and long-time coach to the 13-time French Open champion Spaniard, would start working with him ahead of the Monte Carlo Masters which starts on April 11.

Nadal, 60, announced in 2017 he was standing down as Rafa’s coach after more than a decade on the road to concentrate on running the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca.

He has been tempted back by the chance to work with the 20-year-old and will be in his camp in Monte Carlo – the tournament at which Nadal made his big breakthrough in 2005.

“I will be working with Toni starting from this tournament,” Auger-Aliassime, who is coached by Frederic Fontang, said.

“I sat down with Fred and my team and parents and I thought to myself it would be good to go to someone who has been at the highest level of our sport, who has been to where I want to go.

“Really it’s gaining advice and experience and just working on a day to day to become a better player. I know there’s no secret tool or recipe or that you just click your fingers and things work out.”

Felix Auger-Aliassime has yet to win an ATP Final in seven attempts

Felix Auger-Aliassime has yet to win an ATP Final in seven attempts

Auger-Aliassime, who has lost all seven ATP finals he has contested, first approached Toni Nadal in Mallorca in December after going there to train.

“I never considered before to work for someone else,” Nadal said, who has taken an unexpected change of path after opting to step aside as a coach on Tour four years ago.

“For me it’s a wonderful thing to work with a guy like Felix, first a very educated player, a player that can become one of the best players in the world and become a champion in big tournaments.

“I could not work with someone unless they are respectful, and have good values because I had the luck to work all my life with a kid that was very respectful and gave a very good image wherever he went.

“Now I have the possibility to work with a guy who believes in the same, to improve, work hard every day.”

Nadal stressed that should Auger-Aliassime play his nephew in the coming months, he would not be in either box.

“If (Rafa) has to lose to someone then I would rather him lose to Felix,” he said. “I’m still his uncle and have many years of involvement with him.

“I hope Felix will be number one in the future. For now he needs to keep improving and I keep being Rafa’s uncle.”

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