Tony Nadal insists he will not give Felix Agar-Aliasim a blueprint for how to beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open when the players face off in the quarter-finals on Sunday.
Tony coached his nephew for the best time in three decades, during which time he won a record 21 Grand Slam titles, 16 of them.
They finished their professional association in 2017 before joining Tony Auger-Aliassime in 2021 to work with Canadian full-time coach Fred Fontang.
The 61-year-old coach was unequivocal when asked on Saturday if he would reveal to Agar-Aliasim the secret of losing to Nadal at Roland Garros and becoming the third man.
“Of course not. I told Felix that my morals don’t allow me to advise on beating my nephew. It’s like I’m telling someone how to beat my own son,” Tony said before his first meeting with Raphael after their breakup.
“When Felix (Nadal) came to the academy and asked me to work with him, I told him: ‘If we play against Rafa, of course, I won’t do it when you point,'” he added, pointing to a fist pump.
“And if Raphael hadn’t said so, I wouldn’t have taken the job.”
Tony also said he would not sit in Auger-Aliassime’s player box at Court Philippe Chatterjee on Sunday, explaining that he would place himself in a “neutral” seat.
Nadal, the 13-time French Open champion who has a record of 108 wins and just three defeats since his title-winning debut in 2005, insisted there was no “zero problem” with working with his uncle Auger-Aliassime.
“It’s very easy for me,” said Nadal, who reached the fourth round after losing to boutique van de Gendschalp in the third round.
“He’s my uncle. He doesn’t want to lose me. He wants the best for me and I want the best for him. But he’s a professional and now with another player.
“Honestly, for me, it’s a zero-sum problem.”
In the last 16 for the first time in Paris, 21-year-old Agar-Aliasime also tried to reduce Tony Nadal’s influence.
Reaching the semifinals of the US Open last year under the direction of Tony Nadal, the Canadian said, “I don’t know if Rafa needs to explain to me how he plays, we all know what he does well.”
“I don’t think Tony will teach me anything new about the game of raffle.”
He added: “We knew it was a possibility that I would eventually play Rafa when I finally worked with Tony. For me, this is another match. Rafa’s career and what he did with Tony is much bigger than Sunday’s match.”
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