Toni Nadal will keep it strictly and completely neutral should his clay monster nephew Rafael face off against Felix Auger-Aliassime during this spring’s Roland Garros run-up.
The elder Nadal will serve as an advisor to 19-year-old FAA for the dirt campaign but will not take sides should Rafael Nadal eventually play his new North American coaching client.
The Canadian, ranked 22, put in off-season time at Nadal’s tennis academy on the island of Mallorca, where he attracted the attention of coaching supremo Toni.
The recently formed pair are now in Monte Carlo tuning up for Monday’s start of the Masters 1000.
“If we have to play against Rafa, I will not be on either of the two benches out of respect for both players,” the senior Nadal told Spain’s MARCA.
“I’m still director of the Academy, I continue to work for my nephew, I continue to be his uncle.
“I have a special affection, as is normal, when dealing with my nephew. But if he has to lose to someone, let it be Felix. “
Nadal said that he was attracted to a part-time coaching return after observing the work ethic on court of Auger-Aliassime.
“I can collaborate with a player who has the highest aspirations, this is a challenge that personally satisfies me.
“I hope that in the future Felix can become number one – but for now, he has to improve.”
Nadal added: “I could not work with a person who was not respectful and had values. I’ve been lucky to work my whole life with a boy who has been very respectful and has given a good image (Rafa) , so now I aspire to the same.
“Felix should be among the best in the world for years to come. Obviously, it is always a pleasure to work with people like that.”