Rafael Nadal’s reaction to playing against his uncle Toni has been revealed in Netflix’s new tennis documentary series.
Rafael Nadal’s response to facing Felix Auger-Aliassime at the French Open while the Canadian was coached by his uncle Toni has been revealed in Netflix’s new tennis documentary Break Point. The fifth episode focuses on the 22-year-old’s attempt to defeat Nadal at his most successful tournament and shows how Toni sided against his own charge as he shared his wish for Auger-Aliassime to lose the match while the world No 2 had an awkward meeting with his uncle ahead of the clash.
Netflix’s new Drive to Survive-style tennis documentary dropped on Friday and has not only given fans a new insight into some of the top players but also offered a new perspective on some of the biggest stories of the 2022 season, including Nadal’s French Open clash with Auger-Aliassime. The fourth-round match hit headlines last year when the Spaniard’s uncle Toni – who coaches the Canadian – confessed that he wanted the world No 2 to defeat his own player but footage from the series now shows that even Nadal himself felt awkward about facing his uncle’s new protege.
The fifth episode of Break Point titled ‘King of Clay’ follows Auger-Aliassime and Casper Ruud at the French Open as they face one of the toughest tasks in tennis – trying to beat Nadal at Roland Garros. And it is an especially unique episode given the involvement of Nadal’s uncle Toni, who coached the Spaniard until 2018 and started working with Auger-Aliassime in 2021, as the 61-year-old tells the cameras exactly why he cannot side against the world No 2 even when he is facing his own charge.
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But perhaps the most interesting part of the episode is Nadal’s interaction with his uncle in the corridors ahead of his meeting with Auger-Aliassime as he asks Toni a blunt question about whether they can see each other. “Hey, how are you doing?” Toni says as he approaches his nephew, while the 36-year-old fires back: “Felix is in the other corner. Are you allowed to be on this side?”
But Toni reassures his nephew that there is no bad blood between them, responding: “Yeah I mean, come on.” The interaction comes after the renowned tennis coach tells both the press and Netflix’s cameras that he wants his nephew to beat Auger-Aliassime – comments which shocked the tennis world at the time and forced fans to call on the world No 7 to fire Toni as his coach.
“I can’t really say much, I can’t really tell Felix how to beat Rafael, to tell the truth I want my nephew to win. He’s my nephew and he’s more than a nephew to me. I want my nephew to win,” Toni tells French TV in an interview captured by Netflix. Auger-Aliassime’s coach then explains his decision, saying: “I have my principles and my principles are my own. I won’t change them.”
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While fans wanted to see the Canadian drop Toni from his team, Auger-Aliassime’s reaction to the comments has now been revealed for the first time in the episode as both the 22-year-old himself and his agent explain why they understand the 61-year-old’s choice. “It was very clear to me once we started working together that if I had to play Rafa, he wouldn’t want me to win. He wouldn’t want me to beat his nephew,” the four-time title winner tells the cameras.
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