Felix Auger-Aliassime: ‘Toni Nadal doesn’t want me to play like Rafa’
World number nine Felix Auger-Aliassime has discussed how his partnership with Toni Nadal works, including how the 61-year-old has already been a great help.
The Canadian tennis star had a solid start to his 2022 season, reaching the quarter-finals of the Australian Open before securing his first career tour title by winning the Rotterdam Open in February, moving to a 12-3 win-loss record following the Dutch event.
However, Auger-Aliassime has since gone 4-5 on tour, including losing in his first match at the Monte Carlo Masters last week to fellow youngster Lorenzo Musetti.
Speaking to Eurosport, the 21-year-old discussed his credentials on clay believing there is lots of room for improvement.
He said: “I didn’t have the most amazing clay season last year in terms of results so this year is just an opportunity for me to try to do things better, try to improve on this surface, try to win more matches.
“So that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Auger-Aliassime won just four of 10 matches played on clay in 2021, winning consecutive matches only twice in that stretch.
He went on to discuss the positive impact that Toni Nadal has had upon his clay court skill-set, believing he is moving in the right direction.
He continued: “It starts with the training, with the work that I’m going to put in everyday and Toni helps a lot with that.
“We talk about the matches and we talk about the game and how I’m supposed to approach the competition.
“We’ve been together more than a year now so things are doing good, we have good weeks, bad weeks.
“But at the end the work is great and it’s moving in the right direction.”
Toni Nadal split from his nephew Rafa back in 2017 and has been with Auger-Aliassime since the beginning of the 2021 season.
Reflecting upon their partnership so far, Auger-Aliassime believes that Toni is great at tailoring his approach to the Canadian’s game despite his 15 years of experience working with 21-time Slam champion Rafa.
He explained: “I’m not Rafa, we have different qualities, it’s tough to replicate what Rafa did in his career and on clay.
“I’m more of a hard court player and I play well on grass as well, it’s different strengths but he has adapted his input.
“He adapts to the player he’s working with so he’s not approaching it like I want to play like his nephew (Rafa).
“I think that would be wrong but he has a great knowledge of tennis and he knows a lot so he’s able to help me.”
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