Rafael Nadalthirteen times French Open Winner, and the greatest clay court champion meets world No. 9 Felix Auger Aliassime in the fourth round of the 2022 edition. Rafael Nadal didn’t have much practice before coming to Roland Garros. In the first tournaments he was eliminated because of a rib injury, then he lost to Carlo Alcaraz in the quarterfinals of Mutua Madrid Open and lost in the Italian Open 2022 courtesy of the occurrence of chronic foot pain. It was quite a scary incident but Nadal has never lost touch in Paris as he prepares for a fourteenth title.
Felix Auger Aliassime, on the other hand, has reached four consecutive quarter-final appearances on clay before arriving in Paris. His road to the quarterfinals at the Stade Roland Garros is much tougher as Rafael Nadal is the person to beat. Auger Aliassime was coached by Rafael Nadal’s uncle and coach Tony Nadalwho is caught in the crossfire as the two players compete for a spot in the quarterfinals in the fourth round.
Toni had already made his position on coaching Felix clear. He had said:
“If we have to play with Rafa I will not sit on any bench out of respect for both players and because I am still the director of the academy I continue to work for him and I am Rafael’s uncle. As always, I have a special affection for my nephew. But if you have to lose to someone who is Felix. I don’t stop being Rafael’s uncle, I have long ties with him. Hopefully Felix will be number one in the world in the future. Now he has to improve.”
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A tough test awaits Rafael Nadal in the fourth round.
It will be an awkward encounter for Toni when Rafa takes on Auger Aliassime. There is a conflict of interest for Toni to help one of the players and that’s why he chose not to even appear in their clash. Tony said:
“I’ve already told Felix I won’t tell him if my nephew has this or that. I won’t tell him how to hit him. But I also couldn’t ethically tell Rafael what he needs to do to beat Felix.”
Felix is playing beautifully on the clay and so is Nadal and it would be worth watching the two come up with plans to break each other up. This match would be a great test of Nadal’s fitness and he would love to be given such a rigorous test ahead of an expected clash Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros.
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