By CAPosts 08 April, 2021 - 09:58am
Toni Nadal, right, poses with Augger-Aliassime and Fontang in Monte Carlo.
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 French coach Frédéric Fontang, and will do so immediately: the Monte Carlo Masters, which kicks off next week, will be the first official test bench for them.
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“We spoke 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 it seems like the pieces 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 come, ”he concludes.
Since leaving the benches , Nadal, 60, has worked as a director at his nephew's academy in Manacor, while giving motivational talks and was part of the 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 the Auger-Aliassime 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”, Nadal account from the Monegasque Principality. “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.
Auger-Aliassime, in a training session at the end of 2020 in Manacor. / RAFA NADAL ACADEMY BY MOVISTAR
Canadian, 20 and born in Montreal, currently occupies the 22nd position in ATP ranking two years ago 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 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 the 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.
" TONI'S VALUES ARE IMPORTANT "
In a statement granted to the ATP website, Auger-Aliassime underlines Nadal's experience as the key to the bond that is born. "At the end of last year I sat down with Fred, the rest of my team, my parents ... I told myself it would be good to be next to someone who had been at the highest level in our sport. Someone who has been where I want. We raised with Toni the possibility of going to Mallorca to meet him, train and talk, so we did, "says the tennis player." From the first training session, the work was great. The first thing is respect, honesty and truth, and Toni puts those values on the table. They are simple things, but things that are not always easy to carry out. The consistency in the work, the precision of my work, the intensity that I am going to put ... If I can repeat that at a high level, I think good things can happen ”, he adds. Having taken the first steps, Auger-Aliassime is aiming for the medium term. “Not that there is a secret tool or a single recipe that just snapping your fingers will work. We are starting to work together and building something solid, that makes me a better player, overall. That's what I want to do to reach the highest level in tennis, ”he concludes.