‘I have been linked with Rafael Nadal but…’, says top coach

The start of Roland-Garros has been postponed by a week: the ATP tournament in Paris was supposed to be played from 23 May to 6 June but was postponed to the following week, between 30 May and 13 June. This was revealed by a source close to the organization, confirming what the team said in the past few hours. The postponement could allow organizers to welcome a greater number of spectators, should health restrictions linked to the Coronavirus pandemic need to be eased. The one-week postponement of the Grand Slam tournament played on clay will have limited impact on the schedule, although there will only be two weeks between the Roland Garros final and the start of Wimbledon (June 28-July 11). World #3 Rafael Nadal, the undisputed king of clay, will once again be the big favorite in a tournament he has already won 13 times. The 2021 edition could record the return of the Swiss Roger Federer to Parisian soil where he has appeared only once since 2015, in 2019, the year in which he reached the semifinals, before being beaten by Nadal himself. Rafael Nadal’s uncle and former coach, Toni Nadal, will return as a coach to the ATP Tour after more than three years. This time, the senior Nadal will take over the coaching duties for World No. 22 Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Rafael Nadal’s uncle will return as a coach

“If we have to play with Rafael Nadal, I will not be on either of the two benches out of respect for both players,” Toni Nadal said. The 60-year-old also claimed that the 20-year-old Auger-Aliassime has it in him to become World No. 1 some day. “I have a special affection as normal for my nephew,” Toni Nadal continued. “I am still Rafael’s uncle, I have been linked with him for many years. I hope that in the future Felix will be number one in the world. For now, he has to improve.” Toni Nadal stressed that he would never take up a coaching role if the player didn’t display positive traits and values, like Rafael Nadal had during all his years. “I could not work with a person who was not respectful and had values,” Toni Nadal said. “I have been fortunate to work my whole life with a boy who has been respectful and has given a good image and aspired to the same thing. Felix is a boy who theoretically he has to be among the best in the world in the coming years.”

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