Three years after closing his time on his nephew’s bench, Toni Nadal will return to the professional circuit at the hands of 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 French coach Frédéric Fontang, and will do so immediately: the Monte Carlo Masters, which starts next week, will be the first official test bench for them.
“We talked a long time ago and the feeling was very positive. Obviously, I have been following his career and I have also received very good references through Rafael ”, Nadal transmits to EL PAÍS. “It’s an attractive challenge and the pieces seem to fit together. The idea is that we work in Manacor and be by his side in the four Grand Slams, as well as in some Masters 1000 and other important events ”, he adds from Monte Carlo. “The impression is that he is a boy who wants to grow and evolve, so we are working on it. Now the only thing left is for the results to arrive ”, he concludes.
Since leaving the benches, Nadal, 60, has held management duties at his nephew’s academy in Manacor, while giving motivational talks and was part of Jordi Font’s candidacy for the FC Barcelona elections. 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.
“We have just had a very good training session,” says Nadal from the Principality of Monaco. “Welcome aboard”, confirmed Auger-Aliassime through a photograph published on his social networks, in which Fontang, he and Nadal pose together, who will combine collaboration with the management of the Rafa Nadal Academy and the Mallorca Open, the category 250 tournament that takes place from June 19 to 26 in Porto Cristo.
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 qualitative leap that could occur with the hiring of Nadal. For now, the eighth of last year’s US Open and this season’s Australian Open 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.
“If nothing goes wrong, I think that in the next few years I should be among the best in the world, fighting for the most important titles,” says the coach. “Both me and Rafael caught our attention a long time ago, and now a gap must be made among the generation that will command tennis for the next decade. There are very good players, with a lot of talent. He also has a lot of projection and due to his age, he can progress significantly. Of course, he will have to work hard to be there ”, Nadal concludes, once again on the wave of the elite.