Three years after closing his time on his nephew’s bench, Toni Nadal will return to the professional circuit with the young Félix Auger-Aliassime. In a telematic conference that took place this Thursday, the Canadian tennis player confirmed that he will start working with the Spanish coach, away from the elite since he stopped directing Rafael Nadal in November 2017. Specifically, Toni Nadal will be integrated into the body coach led by the French coach Frédéric Fontag, and will do so immediately: the Monte Carlo Masters, which kicks off next week, will be the first official test bench for them.
“I had already had a chat with him a long time ago and he made a very good impression on me. Also through my nephew, they always spoke highly of him to me ”, Nadal transmitted in a statement collected by the ATP website. “I am still the director of the Rafa Nadal Academy and obviously I have worked with my nephew, I am his uncle and I did not consider being with another player. Knowing that I have the possibility as director of the Academy to collaborate with a player who has the highest aspirations is a challenge that particularly satisfies me. It is a challenge for everyone ”, he added.
Since leaving the benches, Nadal, 60, has worked as a director at his nephew’s academy in Manacor. However, apart from the training he has not lost his pulse with the professional circuit and Auger-Aliassime’s proposal is a sufficient incentive to return to the foreground. After several contacts and a more formal contact last December, when the tennis player trained for a few days in Mallorca, the coach has decided to accept the challenge of accompanying him in the Grand Slams and other weight tournaments.
“Today we have formalized our relationship,” Nadal said in these statements. “Welcome aboard”, confirmed Auger-Aliassime through a photograph published on his social networks, in which Fontag, he and Nadal pose together, who will combine collaboration with the directors of the Rafa Nadal Academy and the Mallorca Championships, the category 250 tournament that takes place from June 19 to 26.
The 20-year-old Canadian born in Montreal currently ranks 22nd in the ranking of the ATP and two years ago he managed to climb to 17th. This is a player (1.91 tall and about 82 kilos) characterized by the power of his blows and an extraordinary physique, not without creativity. In the youth categories, he began to show signs of his potential when he triumphed at Roland Garros and the US Open, and in 2015 he also won the Junior Davis Cup held at the Caja Mágica in Madrid. His final breakthrough, however, would come when he reached the Miami semifinals in 2019.
From there, his performance has been relatively linear, hoping to make a leap that could come with Nadal’s shadow behind. For now, the eighth of the US Open last year and the same season of the Australian Open this season are his top on the big stages. Electric in his movements and with a very generous margin of progression, he has not yet managed to raise any trophies on the professional circuit, but he has already been seen in the finals in Rio, Lyon, Stuttgart (2019), Rotterdam, Marseille, Cologne ( 2020) and Melbourne preparatory three months ago.
“Make no mistake, he is a boy who theoretically has to be among the best in the world in the coming years. It’s always nice to work with someone like that ”, supports the coach on the ATP website. “When I saw Felix play for the first time we commented with Rafael: this boy is going to be very good. And I think he must have this aspiration, “he continues in his statements. And when asked about a hypothetical cross between the two, he points out: “Yes [Rafael] He has to lose to someone, let it be to Felix. I don’t stop being his uncle, I have been linked to him for many years and the day they play, obviously, I wouldn’t be in either of them’s box out of respect for both of them ”.