‘Ethical’ question as Toni Nadal says he won’t divulge Nadal’s secrets

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Paris (AFP)- Toni Nadal insists he won’t hand Felix Auger-Aliassime a plan on how to beat Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros when the players meet for a quarter-final on Sunday.

Toni coached his nephew for the better part of three decades in which he won a record 16 of his 21 Grand Slam titles.

They ended their professional association in 2017 before Toni joined Auger-Aliassime in 2021, working alongside the Canadiens’ full-time coach Fred Fontang.

When asked on Saturday if he would tell Auger-Aliassime the secret to becoming the third man to defeat Nadal at Roland Garros, the 61-year-old coach was unequivocal.

“Of course not. I told Felix that my ethics didn’t allow me to give him advice on beating my nephew. 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 academy (Nadal) to ask me to work with him, I said to him: ‘If we play against Rafa, of course, I won’t do that when you score a point'”, a- he added, showing a fist pump.

“And if Rafael had said no, I wouldn’t have accepted the job.”

Toni also said he would not be sitting in the Auger-Aliassime players’ box on the Philippe Chatrier court on Sunday, explaining he would be in a “neutral” seat.

Nadal, a 13-time French Open champion where his record stands at 108 wins and just three losses since his title debut in 2005, insisted there was ‘no problem’ with his working uncle with Auger-Aliassime.

“For me it’s very simple,” Nadal said after reaching the fourth lap by overtaking Botic van de Zandschulp on the third lap.

“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 with another player now.

“Honestly, for me, it’s zero problem.”

For the first time in the Round of 16 in Paris, 21-year-old Auger-Aliassime also tried to play down 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 semi-final last year. last under the leadership of Toni Nadal.

“I don’t think Toni is going to teach me anything new about Rafa’s game.”

He added: “We knew it was possible for me to play against Rafa when I work with Toni. From my side, it’s another game. Rafa’s career and what he did with Toni is much more important than Sunday’s game.”

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