Rafael Nadal, coach, Felix: Everything you always wanted to know about Toni Nadal (but never had time to find out)

Toni Nadal is one of the most recognisable faces in men’s tennis and helped Rafael Nadal win most of his Grand Slam titles. Here are the answers to many questions you may have about the Spaniard

Toni Nadal Toni Nadal | © Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic

Who is Toni Nadal?

Toni Nadal is the uncle and long-time coach of Rafael Nadal, the 22-time Grand Slam champion. He coached his nephew from a young boy through most of his Grand Slam wins before taking a step back. He now works at the Rafael Nadal Academy in Manacor and is the part-time coach of Felix Auger-Aliassime.

Rafael Nadal (ESP) Toni Nadal (ESP) at the French Open in 2017 – Virginie Bouyer / Panoramic

What nationality is Toni Nadal?

Toni Nadal is Spanish. One of three brothers, his older brother, Miguel Angel Nadal, was a successful footballer, playing for Barcelona and Spain.

Was Toni Nadal ever a player?

Not really. He played tennis only from the age of 14. However, he was a junior champion in table tennis on the Balearic Islands.

How long did Toni Nadal coach Rafael Nadal?

Toni Nadal began coaching Rafa when the future champion was just three years old. He was the mainstay of the Nadal team all the way until December 2016, when Rafa added former world No 1 Carlos Moya, to his team. He stepped down in February 2017.

Why did Toni Nadal stop coaching Rafael Nadal?

In February 2017, Toni Nadal said he would be stepping down as coach of the Spaniard.

“I have been thinking this thoroughly,” he said at the time. “It’s the right time to do it. I know how old I am, the years and years I have been travelling around the world and the tension and stress that competition produces.

“I step down, but (Rafael) is in good hands. It has been a very long journey, loads of seasons. If instead of my nephew, I had coached somebody else, I would have stepped down much earlier.”

Felix Auger-Aliassime and Toni Nadal
Felix Auger-Aliassime and Toni Nadal – Antoine Couvercelle / Panoramic

Who is Toni Nadal coaching now?

In April, 2021, Nadal began a coaching relationship with Canadian player, Felix Auger-Aliassime. Nadal is present for two Grand Slams each year.

What did Toni Nadal do when Rafael Nadal played Auger-Aliassime in 2022?

Toni always said he would not sit in Felix’s team box if he played Nadal. His words were tested when Nadal and Auger-Aliassime played at the French Open in 2022. Before the match, Toni said he wanted Nadal to win because the French Open meant so much to him, comments which raised a few eyebrows. However, he sat in the stands to watch the match, in a neutral position, as Nadal won it and went on to win the title.

When they played again at the ATP Finals in Turin at the end of 2022, the situation was different.

“I’ll be watching from Felix’s box,” Toni Nadal said, quoted by the ATP Tour website. “It’s different to Roland Garros. There, it was the first time they’d met and… there’s something extra (in Paris). Here, really, there’s no problem. I won’t celebrate the points and I’m not going to say who I want to win, but it won’t be a tragedy whichever one does.”

Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime and Spain’s Rafael Nadal shake hands after their fourth-round match at Roland-Garros in 2022 – AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Does Toni Nadal work at the Rafa Nadal Academy?

Yes, he is the tennis director of the academy.

Does Toni Nadal have any involvement with the Mallorca ATP event in June?

Yes, Toni Nadal is the tournament director.

Is Toni Nadal on social media?

Yes! Toni Nadal is on Instagram, where he has more than 60,000 followers. He also has more than 60,000 likes on his official Facebook page, but he is much more prolific on Instagram.

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