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‘I don’t need Toni to tell me how Rafa plays!’ Auger-Aliassime all set for clash of the Nadals

The big question is where will Uncle Toni sit on Sunday to watch the round of 16 encounter between his current protege and his nephew?

Felix Auger Aliassime Roland Garros 2022 Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 25, 2022 Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime in action during his second round match against Argentina’s Camilo Ugo Carabelli (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

When he started working with Toni Nadal, Felix Auger-Aliassime always knew that people would be looking out for a certain match in the draw.

That clash is going to happen in the Roland-Garros round of 16 when the young Canadian faces the great Rafael Nadal. But, says the 21-year-old, he doesn’t think his choice of coach gives him any special insight or helps with his preparation for the match.

“I don’t know if I need insight on how Rafa plays, to be honest,” he told reporters in his press conference after beating Filip Krajinovic in straight sets in the third round. “I think we all know what he does well! I don’t think Toni will tell me anything new about how Rafa plays.

“We had the discussion. It was black and white from the first time we started working together; we knew it was a possibility that eventually I would play Rafa when I’m working with Toni. Actually now he’s present here in this Grand Slam. But I think Toni will watch from a neutral place and enjoy the match.

“From my part it’s another match, another opportunity to try to play a good match and win, but of course it’s very difficult.”

Nadal: It’s not a story at all for me

For his part, the 13-time Roland-Garros champion said his uncle would be absolutely professional – even if he felt that his loyalties were slightly split.

“He’s my uncle – I don’t think he will be able to want me to lose, without a doubt, but he’s a professional and he’s with another player,” he said.

“I don’t know what’s gonna happen, if he’s gonna stay in the box or not, but I don’t care. I have zero problem with that. So it’s not a story at all for me. I know what’s the feelings that we have between each other.

“I know he wants the best for me. Now he’s helping another player. But honestly, for me, it’s zero problem.”

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