The uncle of Rafael Nadal has revealed that he threatened to end his coaching agreement with Felix Auger-Aliassime if the Canadian didn’t accept his demands regarding playing his nephew. Nadal, 35, came through an epic last-16 tie with the player 14 years his junior, winning in five-sets to set up a quarter-final with Novak Djokovic, which he also won.
But Toni Nadal, who previously spent 17 years mentoring the 21-time Grand Slam champion, wasn’t in the player’s box to watch the clash. And that’s despite joining up with Auger-Aliassime in 2021, overseeing his run to the quarter-finals of Wimbledon and then the last four of the US Open.
He also reached the last-eight of the Australian Open, a tournament in which Nadal triumphed, and has risen inside the world’s top-10. And his display against the ‘King of Clay’ further enhanced the notion that he can soon challenge for major titles himself.
But that match also presented his coach with a moral dilemma, especially given he is still an integral figure of the Rafa Nadal Academy for tennis youngsters. His way of dealing with it, was to take a seat in the front row of the presidential box on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
Indeed, Nadal, 61, has revealed he told the young star that we would stop working with him if he didn’t accept that his family loyalty came first: “I had a deal with Felix in which I wouldn’t sit in his box in the case he faced Rafa,” he was quoted as saying by tennis commentator Jose Morgado.
“Irrespective of any agreement, this whole business reflects very poorly on Toni Nadal,” she wrote. “He lacks integrity.” That view was backed up by @YesItsMeElad, who posted: “Toni is famous for his blunt, borderline cruel honesty, but that should apply to his private dealings with FAA, it should not be broadcasted.”
@mahashaheen added: “Not impressed at all! A coach’s job is to be by his player’s side all the time.” There was some support for the Spaniard though, with @Tweets_by_Sayan arguing: “So Tony was very clear about their deal and FAA agreed to it thus they signed the agreement paper. So I don’t know why outsiders are making fuss about it?”