Rafael Nadal has no issues that his former longtime coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, is now working with rising Canadian star Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Speaking in Monte Carlo today, Nadal was happy that his uncle has a new gig.
“I am happy for him, happy for at the same time academy have somebody with such a great player like Felix is a positive thing,” Nadal said. “At the same time, well, Toni has a lot of experience. He knows a lot about this sport. He has all the knowledge that somebody needs. I am sure that going to be an important help for Felix.”
“He’s my uncle. I am very grateful for all the things that he did for me. I am happy that he’s on the tour a couple of weeks,” he added.
“At the same time I am happy for Felix. I mean, is going to be a good support, have a great coach like Toni next to him. Happy for me, too. I am happy to see my uncle here, see him here, spend time with him here on the tour again. That’s a positive thing.”
Novak Djokovic also agreed it’s a good it.
“It honestly did not surprise me too much,” Djokovic said. “I know Felix has spent quite a bit of time in the last couple years in Rafa’s academy training and getting an advice and mentorship from Toni when he was there. Toni probably was excited to explore a new project, a new so to say adventure on the tour with one of the best young tennis players in the world at the moment.
“Felix is a great guy. He’s someone that has hard-working ethics, which is something that is very important for Toni. I wish them all the best. It’s nice to see Toni on the tour. Obviously he’s had his mark with Rafa for so many years. I feel like he can only bring positives to Felix’s game and mindset.”
Nadal had some back issues and hasn’t played a match since his stunning quarterfinal loss at the Australian Open to Stefanos Tsitsipas almost two months ago. The injury and the fact that COVID has impacted schedules, has allowed Nadal some extra time to prepare for clay.
“I am good,” said Nadal. “I am confident. I am playing well I think. I’m practicing well these couple of days here in Monaco, in Monte Carlo, before the tournament start. So I feel ready.
“It’s true that I didn’t play much. At the same time is true that I had good success in the past without playing match. My mindset is the same as always, no? Just try to be ready for Wednesday. Going day by day. Tomorrow another practice. Just try to be ready for the first match, and let’s see.
I’m just going step by step, as I always did. I hope to be ready to stay healthy, that’s the main thing. If I am able to stay healthy for the next month and a half, I hope to have my chances to compete at the right level.”
The 11-time Monte Carlo champion will open up against either Federico Delbonis or Adrian Mannarino in his opening second round match. In his last match, Nadal, who once won Monte Carlo eight straight times, fell to Fabio Fognini in the 2019 semifinals.
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