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‘I want the best for Toni’ – Rafael Nadal on Felix Auger-Aliassime link-up

The king of clay says he thinks his uncle’s newly-announced link-up with Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime is good news for everyone

Rafael Nadal in Monte-Carlo Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo in 2021 (Panoramic)

Rafael Nadal says his uncle Toni had no need to ask him before taking a mentoring role with Felix Auger-Aliassime – but says he is pleased for the whole team.

The link-up was announced last week by the Rafael Nadal Academy, who said that the elder Nadal would be in Monte Carlo to advise the Canadian.

And speaking before the start of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters, the world No 3 said: “I am happy for him, happy for at the same time [that the Rafael Nadal] Academy have somebody with such a great player like Felix is a positive thing.

“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 added: “I don’t have any problem, no. I always said the same: I want the best for Toni.

“First of all, he doesn’t have to ask me anything, no. 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, no?

“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.”

‘My favourite tournament’

The 34-year-old, who has won Monte Carlo eleven times, said he was confident that he had done enough preparation ahead of the tournament and pleased with his current form and fitness.

“I am excited about playing here in Monaco again, Monte-Carlo,” he said. “As everybody knows, is one of my favourite tournaments without a doubt. I love being here.

“Of course, we’re going to miss the crowd, yeah, the normal tournament. But we are happy. Well, I am happy that we are still able to play. Be here is always a good news for me. Excited, happy, hope to be ready to give my best.

“I hope to be able to come back next year with a different story, with a normal situation again.”


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‘Historic places’

Nadal added that he was looking forward to a more extensive clay-court season than he was able to compete in last year at the height of the pandemic.

“No, I am excited. More than for the clay court season – of course, I love to play on clay, too – but I love to be here, Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Roland Garros, Paris. I love these events. Of course, will not be the same without the typical atmosphere.

“At the same time I play I will have the chance to play in a places that I know very well, places that I have a great story with every single event, yeah. For me, that’s important, no?

“Just happy to enjoy another experience, yeah, another opportunity for me to compete in these historic places of our sport.”

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