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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Ons Jabeur Acknowledges Mental Toughness Ahead Of Charleston Semi-Finals

Ons Jabeur has acknowledged her improvement in her mental game as she heads into her fourth WTA semi-final in Charleston.

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Ons Jabeur (@VolvoCarOpen - Twitter)

Ons Jabeur has acknowledged her improvement in the mental parts of her game after reaching the Charleston semi-finals.

 

The Tunisian comfortably beat Coco Gauff 6-3 6-3 in 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach the last four in Charleston.

It was a dominant performance from the world number 28 who broke on six occasions to set up a semi-final against Danka Kovinic.

However yesterday’s win was also evidence that Jabeur’s mental toughness has improved as in 2020, the Tunisian was 0-5 in quarter-final matches and 0-2 against Gauff having lost in Lexington and Rome to the American teenager.

Speaking after the victory, Jabeur admitted that it was nice to settle those demons last night, “Maybe this year is a revenge year for me,” Jabeur told the WTA website.

“Honestly, mentally-wise I’m much better. I’m getting there. I had my opportunities against her last year. She’s a great player. I know exactly what I’m going to face and I was ready for the battle.

“I’m glad that I’m playing good now. I know that clay is amazing and I gotta say, I have been enjoying sliding a lot lately. It’s the best part of the clay. I like the green clay. It’s different than the red clay but I like it. The bounce is not too high, it’s not too low. It’s a good balance for me.

“I’m just trying to play my game. I’m trying to enjoy after a very tough start to the season. A lot of expectations. I’m really glad I got to prove myself this week and I’m in the semi-finals.”

Jabeur will look to continue her good form in 2020 which saw her climb into the world’s top 30 and end the season with a 27-11 win-loss record.

Saturday will be Jabeur’s fourth WTA career semi-final and her first since 2019 where she reached the last four in Tianjin.

The meeting with Kovinic will be the first WTA Tour meeting of their career although Jabeur won their meeting on the ITF circuit in Budapest in 2018 6-2 6-1.

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Lorenzo Musetti’s Run Ended By Djere In Cagliari

Sonego, Fritz, Basilashvili, join Serb in semi-final line-up.

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Laslo Djere (@TickTockTennis - Twitter)

Italian teen sensation Lorenzo Musetti’s run at the Sardegna Open was ended by Laslo Djere in an error-strewn match played out in tricky conditions.

 

The 19-year-old, who has looked in supreme form this week and ousted top seed Dan Evans in a second round thriller on Thursday, appeared to run out of steam in the deciding set as the Serb ran out a 6-4 4-6 6-2 winner.

The strong gusts that have blown across the centre court all week at the Cagliari Tennis Club appeared to have saved their best efforts for this encounter, as both men seemed to be affected by the tricky conditions. Djere particularly struggled on his serve, offering up 8 double faults, but he was still able to take control of the final set as his young opponent faded.

Musetti will no doubt still be pleased with his work in Sardinia. He will be one to watch next week as a Wild Card at the Monte Carlo Masters, where he has been drawn against Aslan Karatsev in the first round, with a potential second round clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Meanwhile, third seed Lorenzo Sonego ensured there would still be an Italian representative in the last four as he came through against Yannick Hanfmann 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3. The German started impressively and had the opportunity to serve for the match at 5-4 in the second set but was unable to convert. Sonego then recovered from a 3-0 deficit in the ensuing tie break to level proceedings, before going on to seal the win.

In the semi-finals Sonego will have the chance to gain revenge for his defeat in Doha last month to Taylor Fritz. The American second seed came through 6-3 6-4 against an out-of-sorts Aljaz Bedene.

Fritz appeared to be cruising at a set and a break up, with his opponent struggling to make an impact on the gangly American. It left Bedene somewhat uncharacteristically venting his frustration, but this seemed to work for the Slovenian as he was able to break back. It was Bedene’s serve that let him down at a crucial moment, two double faults at 3-3 helping to hand Fritz another crucial, and ultimately decisive, break.

The final semi-final spot was claimed by Nikoloz Basilashvili, who defeated Jan-Lennard Struff 7-5 4-6 6-3 under the floodlights in the final action of the day. Struff has struggled for form so far in 2021 but had looked solid so far this week, and the match-up led to some predictably entertaining rallies. After a tight first two sets, Doha champion Basilashvili was able to take advantage of some Struff errors early in the third, surging to a 3-0 lead. Despite a mini-fightback from the German, Basilashvili clung on to book a Saturday meeting with the unseeded Djere.

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Lorenzo Musetti Blasts ‘Disrespectful’ Evans After Reaching Cagliari Quarter-Finals

Lorenzo Musetti has called Dan Evans disrespectful after reaching the Cagliari quarter-finals.

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Lorenzo Musetti (@atptour - Twitter)

Lorenzo Musetti has hit out at Dan Evans after beating him to reach the last eight in Cagliari.

 

The Italian rising star defeated Evans in a tight contest 6-1 1-6 7-6(8) to reach the quarter-finals in Cagliari.

Musetti saved four match points having been 4-0 and 6-3 down in the final set tiebreak before rallying back to claim victory.

However after the match there was an unusual celebration from the 19 year-old, who threw his racket into the ground.

Clearly frustrated, the Italian made it known after the match that he didn’t appreciate Evans’ attitude, “There are respectful experienced players on the pitch. Others like Evans, they try to use my youth to shoot (win) matches,” Musetti was quoted as saying by TennisHead in his post-match press conference.

“But it’s all experience for me. Evans disrespected me. I don’t want to be treated like a young man. It was really tough. I was 3-6 down in the tiebreak and he was playing good, always going to the net and always aggressive.

“I tried to stay calm and tried to play each point. That is what I did and it worked, so I am really happy and really proud of myself with this win.”

During the match, Evans implemented some unusual return positioning in the second set which is what may have upset the Italian.

However the main thing is Musetti is now into the quarter-finals in Cagliari as he continues his rise among tennis’ elite.

The Italian has already beaten the likes of Stan Wawrinka, Diego Schwartzman and Grigor Dimitrov as he has already broken into the top 100.

Musetti will play Laslo Djere of Serbian in the last eight on Friday.

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