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Uncle Toni Leaves the Match in the Middle as Rafael Nadal Outplays Felix Auger-Aliassime in the Fourth Round of the 2022 French Open

Published 05/30/2022, 4:24 AM EDT

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Yesterday, the 29th of May, Rafael Nadal booked his spot in yet another quarterfinal at the French Open. The Spaniard was put to the test by Felix Auger-Aliassime. However, in typical Nadal fashion, the 13-time champion battled past the Canadian in a 5-set thriller.

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It was one of the most anticipated matches as Felix had Nadal’s uncle and former coach, Toni Nadal, as a part of his coaching staff. As per the reports surfacing prior to the match, Toni Nadal was set to miss the match. However, to everyone’s surprise, ‘Uncle Toni’ was in the stands during the match.


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Toni Nadal misses the fifth set of Nadal vs Felix

Having worked together since 1990, Nadal and his uncle decided to go their separate ways at the end of 2017. After taking a break from coaching for three years, Toni Nadal made a comeback as the coach of Felix Auger-Aliassime in 2021. However, at the time of joining Felix, he had admitted that he wouldn’t be support any side if Felix ever plays Nadal.

Keeping to his word, he asserted that he would not be advising Felix on how to beat his nephew during their fourth round match at Roland Garros. In the stadium, the director of the Rafael Nadal Academy, Toni Nadal, enjoyed the match-up as one of the audience. However, one seat that was vacated at the end of the fourth set was that of Toni Nadal. As per reports, after the fourth set, he apparently left the stadium and took a tournament transport.


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The reason behind Toni leaving in between is still unknown. However, assumptions by the tennis community suggest that he was confident that Nadal would win the clash.


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Rafael Nadal outplays Felix Auger-Aliassime in a 5-set thriller

Even though Toni Nadal left the match in between, it didn’t stop the two players from giving their best. The match kicked off with Felix Auger-Aliassime making an early break to take the lead in the first set. Maintaining the lead, he took 57 mins to take the first set. Rafael Nadal took the second set as he broke Felix in the latter part of the set.

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via Reuters

Maintaining his form, Nadal further went on to take the third set with complete ease. However, Felix had other plans as he made a comeback in the fourth set, breaking Nadal twice to take the match to the fifth set. Having set his sights on winning his 22nd Grand Slam title, Nadal cruised past the Felix in the fifth set, winning the match 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3. He will next face Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.

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Written by:

Ahmar Wasif


One take at a time

Ahmar Wasif is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. He is a national level tennis player and has a number of titles to his name. His experience on the court allows him to incorporate a deeper understanding in his coverage of the sport.
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Edited by:

Tony Thomas