Over the past few years, Rafael Nadal has often had to deal with his physical woes. 2021 was very troubled for the Spanish champion, who never managed to play with the continuity necessary to reach the peak of form. Suffice it to say that the former world number 1 played the misery of seven overall tournaments this year, winning two titles in Barcelona and Rome.
The Roland Garros was obviously his main goal, having the chance to overtake Roger Federer for the first time by lifting himself to 21 Majors. His path was interrupted in the semifinals against Novak Djokovic, who then flew to success.
That day it became clear to everyone that the Mallorcan had some physical problems, a feeling that was confirmed in the subsequent decision to give up Wimbledon and the Tokyo Olympics. The foot problem forced Rafa to remain in the pits for about two months, during which time the pain did not go away.
The 35-years-old from Manacor made his comeback to Washington, where he left the stage in the round of 16 against Lloyd Harris. A few days later, Nadal announced his US Open forfeit and ended his season prematurely. In a recent interview, his uncle Toni illustrated why their collaboration was so successful.
Toni on the partnership with Rafa
Toni Nadal explained: "I was a good coach for Rafael Nadal because ours was an equal relationship. Now it happens more and more often that the coach is employed by his player. Rafa had this mentality of having to progress more every day." Toni is lending a hand to the young promise Felix Auger-Aliassime in recent months.
The Spanish coach said about his young player: I'm trying to instill the right mindset in Felix's brain. I want him to understand that I can give him a hand and advise him, but I can't do things for him." The Canadian reached the quarterfinals at the US Open 2021 after the victory over the North American player Frances Tiafoe. In the quarters the Canadian will meet the very young Spanish player Carlos Alcaraz.