Continuing his poor recent form, Felix Auger-Aliassime lost his 2023 US Open first-round match. His disappointing run under coach Toni Nadal has upset fans on social media. Many implored him to fire Rafael Nadal’s uncle and former coach. Auger-Aliassime was defeated in four sets ( 7-6 (5), 4-6, 6-1, 6- 4) by Mackenzie McDonald. Once touted to be the next big thing in tennis, the former World No.6 has lost his way a bit. The collaboration with Toni Nadal is not reaping the rewards as expected. His loss of form and some controversies between the coach and the player have agitated fans.
Dismal 2023 continues for Felix Auger-Aliassime after good 2022
Auger-Aliassime’s early exit marked his third consecutive first-round exit at a Grand Slam in 2023. Struggling with form and injury issues, the Canadian has lost more matches than he has won this year, with a YTD W/L of 14-15. His partnership with Toni started in early 2021 and bore good results for some time. He was at his best in 2022, hitting his peak ranking (#6) and winning four titles and the Davis Cup. Then, however, Auger-Aliassime started sliding down. After making it to the fourth round of the 2023 Australian Open, he struggled to make a mark in any tournament. His best results so far have been making it to the Qatar Open semi-finals and Indian Wells Masters quarter-finals.
The French Open and Wimbledon saw Auger-Aliassime exit in the first round as well. Last year, he made it to the fourth round at Roland Garros before running into Rafael Nadal. The Canadian did very well to stretch the ‘King of Clay’ to five sets. However, the fight put up by Auger-Aliassime was overshadowed by his coach Toni. Toni Nadal opted not to sit in his protege’s box, instead taking his place in a mid-court seat. He added that he had not shared pointers with Auger-Aliassime on how to beat Rafael because it would be unethical. After the match, Toni reportedly admitted he wanted his nephew to win, much to the shock of tennis fans.
While Auger-Aliassime reached his career-high No.6 ranking under the tutelage of Toni Nadal, this partnership has always polarised fans. With the 23-year-old’s dip in form, the calls for Toni to be relieved of his duties have gotten louder.
Fans demand Toni Nadal be fired
Fans on social media did not take kindly to Auger-Aliassime’s dwindling performances under Toni. The Canadian is now World No.15 and will only fall further because of his quick departure from the 2023 US Open. People on social media are holding his coach accountable, asking for him to be replaced.
Sure. Where was Toni Nadal?
— Andrejones (@Andrejo26966118) September 1, 2023
One fan sarcastically suggested Auger-Aliassime to leave Toni behind in New York.
Maybe leave Toni Nadal in NY? Surely it couldn’t hurt 🤷♀️
— CaperCris74 🇨🇦🇨🇦🇨🇦 (@CaperCris74) September 1, 2023
Another fan quoted Albert Einstein, implying trying to achieve results without firing Toni is insane.
All this sounds good on paper..
Einstein defined insanity as the act of repeating the same actions expecting different results.
— Vikash Kumar (@_Vikash) September 2, 2023
One user referred to the aforementioned comments from Toni at the 2022 French Open. He said the Spaniard should have been fired back then itself. Another fan alluded to that as well, calling Toni a ‘1-player coach’.
The alarming loss of form for Felix means he has to make changes. When Toni Nadal a well paid member of his coaching team told Felix last year that he would never coach him to beat Rafa Nadal that’s the point I would have got rid of him.
Coaches need to have you’re back 100%.
— Pavvy G (@pavyg) August 29, 2023
You saw this long ago
— Matimu Waka Xigombe (@MabasaM7) August 30, 2023
More users said that Auger-Aliassime needs to fire his coach to ‘start playing better’.
Your biggest takeaway should be FIRING Toni Nadal
— Jimmy Fox (@jimmyfox4u) September 2, 2023
If you wanna start playing better again you gotta fire Toni Nadal….
Simple as that.
You may think that he isn’t the problem, but trust me, he is…..
— G.o.a.t (@Vuk135) September 2, 2023
FAA needs a new coach.
He plateaued in 2021 and Toni Nadal has only made matters worse. No passion. No drive. I hope he recovers otherwise what a waste of a career it will be 🙁 https://t.co/WBnti5TdxT
— ajinkya ketkar (@AjinkyaKetkar) August 29, 2023
In a recently released video, Rafael Nadal was seen doing fitness drills as his uncle watched on. Fans raised questions over Toni’s coaching commitments, saying that he should instead be with Auger-Aliassime as he continues to struggle.
Shouldn’t uncle T be in New York with Felix?
— Bambala (@Bambala93722683) August 28, 2023
Felix should do himself a favour and go hire another coach
— Ons (@_ons____) August 28, 2023
Bruh. Tony is scamming FAA lol https://t.co/yCjlVvSOdO
— Geet (@madmufasa) August 28, 2023
The partnership between Toni Nadal and Auger-Aliassime, in over two years, has not resulted in many titles for the player. However, he was doing well and rising before hitting a wall this year. There has been no comment from either party concerning the future plans for this association. If they do continue together, getting Auger-Aliassime back into the top 10 should be the primary goal.