Back in December, Felix Auger-Aliassime came to Manacor and trained with Rafael Nadal and his uncle Toni. Toni, who stopped coaching Rafa in 2017, stood on the youngster's side during their training sessions, and that should become a common picture in the upcoming weeks, as they announced cooperation.
Toni will work with Felix in Monte Carlo, Madrid and Roland Garros in the next two months, looking eager to improve his already solid game. Toni said that he liked Felix straight away when he spent those ten days with him in Mallorca, recognizing his potential and wishing to help him chase his dreams.
Praising Auger-Aliassime, Toni said that he has everything it takes to battle against Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and others in the years to come and become world no. 1 at some point.
"I already had a chat with Felix quite a while ago, and he left a good impression on me. Also, through my nephew, everyone has always had nice things to say about him. When the idea of working together came to me, I told him to come to the Academy in ten days so that we could get to know each other and to see whether what I had to say to him would be of use.
I'm still the director of the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar, and of course, I've worked with my nephew - I'm his uncle, and I hadn't considered being with another player. Knowing that I have the chance as director of the Academy to work with a player with huge potential is a challenge to me, and, in particular, it gives me satisfaction.
It's a challenge for everyone. I wouldn't be able to work with someone who wasn't respectful, who had no values, because I've been lucky enough to work for my entire life with a boy who has always been respectful and has earned himself a good name.
I aspire to that.
Toni Nadal and Felix Auger-Aliassime will work together.
I was delighted the moment they put the idea to me. Let's not beat about the bush; this is a kid who theoretically should be among the best in the world in years to come.
It's always nice to work with someone like that. When I saw him play for the first time, we said to Rafael, 'this kid will be very good.' And I think that he should aspire to that. He left me with a feeling that he was a great player.
I saw him in a Challenger event against Jaume Munar, a player from our Academy, and I thought, 'What a player!' He was 16, but you could already see that he would be one of the best in the world. Now he has to work to confirm it and become that.
At the moment, we are in an era of tennis with some outstanding players. Felix will have to compete in the coming years with players like Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas and other players coming through, like Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz.
The competition will be tough, but I believe he'll be there. I am very interested in Felix doing as well as possible, and hopefully, in the future, he can be World No. 1. I'm in no doubt. At the moment, he has to improve, and I am still Rafael's uncle," Toni Nadal said.