La Gaceta De Mexico - 'Zero problem' as Nadal takes on Nadal at French Open

'Zero problem' as Nadal takes on Nadal at French Open
'Zero problem' as Nadal takes on Nadal at French Open / Photo: © AFP

'Zero problem' as Nadal takes on Nadal at French Open

Rafael Nadal insisted there will be "zero problem" when Toni Nadal, his uncle and coach for the best part of three decades, plots his downfall at the French Open on Sunday.

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The 13-time champion tackles Canada's Felix Auger-Aliassime who started working with Toni Nadal in April 2021.

Four years earlier, Nadal and his uncle called time on their 27-year, trophy-laden association.

"For me, it's very simple," said Nadal after reaching the fourth round by cruising past Dutch 26th seed Botic van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

"He is my uncle. He will not want me to lose. He wants the best for me and I want the best for him. But he's a professional and with another player now.

"I don't know if he will be in the player's box but, honestly, for me, it's zero problem."

Auger-Aliassime has only faced Nadal on one occasion with the Spaniard coming out on top in straight sets on clay in Madrid in 2019.

Into the last 16 in Paris for the first time, the 21-year-old Canadian also attempted to play down the influence of Toni in Sunday's clash.

"We knew it was a possibility that eventually I would play Rafa when I'm working with Toni. And actually now he's present here in this Grand Slam," said Auger-Aliassime who made his first Slam semi-final at the US Open in September under Nadal's guidance.

"I think Toni will watch from a neutral place and enjoy the match. From my part it's another match.

"Rafa's career and what he did with Toni is much bigger than the match on Sunday."

Nadal said that whatever the result, the relationship with his 61-year-old uncle will not be damaged.

"He is old enough to make his own decisions," said Nadal, who won 16 of his record 21 majors with Toni in his corner.

"I cannot thank him enough for all the things he has done for me over so many years.

"We are a family more than anything else. He is more than just my uncle."

Nadal will be the favourite on Sunday after taking his career record at the French Open to 108 wins against just three defeats.

He has reached at least the fourth round in 17 of 18 visits to Paris, with the exception of 2016 when he withdrew in the third round with a wrist injury.

Victory would put him into a quarter-final against Novak Djokovic should the world number one and defending champion defeat Argentina's Diego Schwartzman in his last-16 clash.

Ninth seed Auger-Aliassime made the fourth round by seeing off Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/2), 7-5.