Toni Nadal insists he will not hand Felix Auger-Aliassime a blueprint to beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open, when the players meet for a quarter-final on Sunday. Toni coached his cousin for the better part of three decades, winning 16 of his record 21 Grand Slam titles. They ended their professional association in 2017 before Toni joined Auger-Aliassime in 2021, where he teamed up with Canadian full-time coach Fred Fontang. When asked on Saturday whether he would reveal to Auger-Aliassime the secret of how he could become just the third man to beat Nadal at Roland Garros, the 61-year-old coach was unequivocal.
‘Of course not. I told Felix that because of my ethics I am unable to advise him about hitting my cousin. It’s like telling someone how to beat my own son,” Toni said ahead of his first meeting with Rafael since their split.
“When Felix came to the (Nadal) academy to ask me to work with him, I said to him, ‘If we play against Rafa, of course I’m not going to do this if you score a point,'” he added. with a fist pump.
“And if Rafael had said no, I wouldn’t have taken the job.”
Toni also said he will not be in the Auger-Aliassime box at Court Philippe Chatrier on Sunday, explaining that he will place himself in a “neutral” seat.
Nadal, a 13-time champion at the French Open whose record stands at 108 wins and just three defeats since his title-winning debut in 2005, insisted there is “zero problem” with his uncle who works with Auger-Aliassim.
“For me it’s very simple,” said Nadal after reaching lap four by crossing Botic van de Zandschulp on lap three.
“He’s my uncle. He won’t want me to lose. He wants the best for me and I want the best for him. But he’s a professional and now has another player.”
“Honestly, it’s not a problem for me.”
With the last 16 in Paris, 21-year-old Auger-Aliassime also tried to downplay Toni Nadal’s influence.
“I don’t know if I need him to explain to me how Rafa plays, we all know what he does well,” said the Canadian who reached the US Open semifinals under Toni Nadal last year.
“I don’t think Toni is going to teach me anything new about Rafa’s game.”
He added: “We knew there was a possibility that I would end up playing against Rafa if I work with Toni. From my side it’s a different game. Rafa’s career and what he did with Toni is much bigger than the game of Sunday.”
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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