This is quite surprising news for fans, as Toni Nadal will be joining the technical team of Felix Auger-Aliassime. Toni had previously worked with Rafael Nadal and the couple had won 16 Grand Slam titles together. However, Rafa parted ways with his uncle in 2017, who will start his coaching career now, in 2021 once again.
In a recent interview, Uncle Toni spoke extensively about Rafael Nadal. With the clay court season approaching, he reflected that he saw the world's number 3 player train hard in Mallorca before that. He also revealed that Rafa looks very lively and is playing quite well at the moment.
"He is excited. I saw him train in Mallorca and I think he is playing quite well”, said Toni Nadal in the interview. Uncle Toni and Rafael Nadal were surely one of the best player-coach pairs in the history of this sport.
Despite the fact that they won almost every Grand Slam, it was the clay surface that they completely dominated. Interestingly, Rafa won 10 French Open titles with Uncle Toni. Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic's brother Djordje, who is also the tournament director of the Serbia Open, recently revealed that growing up he used to idolize Novak's arch-rival Rafael Nadal.
Speaking with the "Wish & Go" podcast, Djordje narrated an anecdote about being introduced to Nadal around 15 years ago.
Novak Djokovic's brother on Rafael Nadal
"I have got some really nice memories of Rafael Nadal," Djordje Djokovic said.
"Novak introduced me to him in Monte-Carlo in 2006. Once, I was sitting in the players' lounge when Nadal entered the room. Bear in mind that he was one of my idols." Djordje also recalled how tough it was to converse with Nadal in English back then, as both of them had trouble conveying their ideas in a relatively alien language.
"I used to wear sleeveless shirts and long shorts just like him," Djordje said. "There was a pinball machine around: both of us were not very good with English at that time, but he asked me to play. And we did, my heart was full!" Nadal will be hoping for a championship run at the principality, as it will set the tone for a successful title defense at the Roland-Garros.
The Spaniard claimed his 13th French Open title last year, more than any other player past or present. The win also put him level with Big 3 rival Roger Federer’s career tally of Grand Slam trophies.