Felix Auger Aliassime adds Toni Nadal to his coaching team - UBITENNIS
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Felix Auger Aliassime adds Toni Nadal to his coaching team

Felix Auger-Aliassime has added Toni Nadal to his coaching team ahead of the clay-court season.

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Felix Auger-Aliassime (@rnadalacademy - Twitter)

The Canadian is adding Rafael Nadal’s first coach to his team of coaches.

 

Toni Nadal who was Rafael Nadal first coach and uncle is now part of team Auger Aliassime. Nadal who is 60 years old hasn’t coached his nephew since 2017 and took time away to focus on the Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy in Mallorca.

He will be making his debut at the Rolex Masters in Monte Carlo which begins next week and Auger Aliassime confirmed the addition on a zoom call yesterday.

“I will be working with Toni starting from this tournament,” He went on to add “I sat down with Fred and my team and parents and I thought to myself it would be good to go to someone who has been at the highest level of our sport, who has been to where I want to go”.

The Montreal native has been working with Frederic Fontang for the last couple seasons as his main coach and he just felt adding that experience would give him a leg up.

“Really it’s gaining advice and experience and just working on a day to day to become a better player. I know there’s no secret tool or recipe or that you just click your fingers and things work out.”

Auger Aliassime has spent time in the past during the off season training at Nadal’s academy in Spain and Toni was first approached back in December about the opportunity.

“Our values and work ethic really aligns so for me that’s a great thing personally and I’m glad he’s part of my project and hopefully we can do great things in the future,”

Nadal at the time thought the only player he would ever coach was his nephew and when he stepped down he didn’t think he would come back in a coaching capacity.

“I never considered before to work for someone else,” He would go on to add “For me, it’s a wonderful thing to work with a guy like Felix, first a very educated player, a player that can become one of the best players in the world and become a champion in big tournaments”.

Nadal had certain criteria on his list if he was ever going to come back and coach again and for him Auger Aliassime was he everything on that list.

“I could not work with someone unless they are respectful, and have good values because I had the luck to work all my life with a kid that was very respectful and gave a very good image wherever he went”.

He continued to say “Now I have the possibility to work with a guy who believes in the same, to improve, work hard every day.”

He did however confirm that if his nephew and Felix were to meet in a match that he would not be in either box.

“If (Rafa) has to lose to someone then I would rather him lose to Felix, I’m still his uncle and have many years of involvement with him“,

Nadal does believe Auger Aliassime has what it takes to be a world number one someday.

“I hope Felix will be number one in the future. For now, he needs to keep improving and I keep being Rafa’s uncle.”

The Canadian is coming off a early round exit at the Miami Open to American John Isner and will look to start his clay court season on the right foot starting next week in Monte Carlo.

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Alexander Zverev Secures Place In ATP Finals With Indian Wells Win

Zverev will be seeking to win the season-ending extravaganza for the second time in his career.

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Alexander Zverev (GER) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Germany’s Alexander Zverev has become the fourth player to officially qualify for the ATP Finals after reaching the third round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

 

The world No.4 defeated America’s Jenson Brooksby 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, in his second round match on Sunday which pushed him over the points threshold to secure his spot in the end-of-season event. It is the fifth year in a row he has qualified for the ATP Finals which he won back in 2018. He is one of only three German players to ever win the title after Boris Becker and Michael Stich.

This year’s tournament will take place in Turin, Italy for the first time in history after being held at The O2 Arena in London for more than a decade. Only the eight highest ranked players are eligible to play in the round-robin tournament which has on offer up to 1500 rankings points for an undefeated champion.

“My first time in Turin. I’ve been to London four times before. London is obviously very special to me because I won there, as well. I think the stadium is incredible, one of the most special events that we had,” Zverev told reporters on Sunday.
“But I also love playing in Italy. I had great success in Italy. I won my first Masters in Rome. I’m looking forward to being there. I’m looking forward to playing in front of the Italian fans. It’s going to be a great week.”

The 24-year-old approaches the final quarter of this season with four titles already won this year. He has won two Masters 1000 trophies, an ATP 500 event in Mexico and a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Zverev, who has recorded seven wins over top 10 players, also reached the semi-finals at both the French Open and US Open.

Zverev joins Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas as the players who have qualified for the ATP Finals so far. It is the third straight season the quartet has qualified for the event.

This year’s ATP Finals will get underway on November 14th. Medvedev is the defending champion.

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Denis Shapovalov Advances After Pospisil Retires In Indian Wells

The battle of the two Canadians didn’t go as planned…

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Denis Shapovalov (CAN) Credit: AELTC/Edward Whitaker

Vasek Pospisil faced off against his fellow Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the second round of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells and it was the world number 13 who got the win after the Vernon native pulled out due to an injury whilst trailing 0-3.

 

It was a rough start for Pospisil who seemed to struggle with his serve in the opening game of the match and double-faulted twice in a row to give the early break and Shapovalov had no issues consolidating the break.

Shapovalov continued to apply pressure on the Pospisil serve and after saving two breakpoints the world number 68 pulled up after a serve and stopped play, calling for the trainer. He ended up taking a medical timeout off the court and a couple of minutes later returned to court. Pospisil was broken once again and the following game after a couple of returns decided to call it quits.

” It was pretty awful…and if I’m being honest I am shaking a bit…It really sucks I hope it’s nothing serious…He’s a great guy he’s a real warrior he’s fought back from some injuries surgeries to such a great level.” Shapovalov said of his compatriot.

Shapovalov will face 19th seed Aslan Karatsev in the next round after the Russian thrashed Salvatore Caruso 6-2, 6-0.

In the other results of the day sixth seeed Casper Ruud dominated Roberto Carballes Baena 6-1, 6-2, Roberto Bautista Agut beat the Argentine Guido Pella 7-5, 6-3 and Sebastien Korda won an all American battle with Frances Tiafoe 6-0, 6-4.

Finally, Diego Schwartzman needed three sets to beat another American in Maxime Cressy winning 6-2, 3-6, 7-5.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas Sidesteps Question Over Vaccination Status

The Greek also jokes that he will be having less bathroom breaks in Indian Wells due to one particular reason.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas has declined to confirm if he has received a COVID-19 vaccination despite previously saying he planned to do so later this year.

 

The world No.3 was questioned about the vaccination during his pre-tournament press conference at Indian Wells on Wednesday. Earlier this year Tsitsipas came under fire after saying he doesn’t see a reason why somebody his age needs to be vaccinated and expressed concerns over the potential side effects. He also added that young people catching COVID-19 is a good thing as it helps build up their immunity. Prompting criticism from various people, including a spokesperson for the Greek government.

However, in recent weeks Tsitsipas has changed his stance on the issue and recently told Antenna TV that he will have his first dose by the end of this year. When asked by a reporter in Indian Wells if he has had it yet, the French Open finalist declined to answer.

I’m sorry but I’m not able to provide any of my medical records,” he said.

Player vaccination rates in tennis are becoming a growing issue amid reports that the Australian Open may only allow fully vaccinated players to participate due to a health mandate which has been implemented by the local government. There is yet to be a formal announcement by Tennis Australia regarding their entry requirements. However, The Age newspaper reports that there is a ‘strong likelihood’ that only vaccinated players will be allowed entry by Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton.

Tsitsipas’ immediate focus is on this week’s BNP Paribas Open where he is the second seed behind Daniil Medvedev. Speaking about the conditions, the 23-year-old joked it was ‘very dry’ and therefore he will be having less bathroom breaks during matches. Referring to the recent criticism he has received from some of his peers over the timing of breaks he takes.

“It’s very dry here,” Tsitsipas said.
“That is good for me because I sweat less, which makes for less bathroom breaks, which makes for less complaints. So a very good sign so far,” he added with a smile.

The hope for Tsitsipas is that he will be able to build on his recent experience at the Laver Cup where he helped Europe secure their fourth consecutive title. The event provides players with the opportunity to work alongside each other in a team format. Something Tsitsipas relished but he is ready to get back to singles duty.

“I think team competitions are necessary for our sport and we don’t get to be united a lot,” he said. “We always kind of focus on ourselves and our things and environment and that is what you usually see on Tour. Players doing their own thing. Not much socialising.
“At the Laver Cup, we all get to have dinners together and all get to hang out with each other. Of course, though, we all have our competitiveness and if we get stuck around we might share too much with one another, that is the mentality behind it.”

Tsitsipas is yet to win a main draw match in Indian Wells. He will start his 2021 bid against either qualifier Roberto Marcora or Spain’s Pedro Martinez.

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