Toni Nadal, the uncle and long-time trainer of former World No. 1 Rafael Nadal, admitted that a coaching change is a possibility if the Spanish pro continues to struggle in the 2016 ATP Season when he was interviewed in October last year.
With Nadal completely embarrassed in the first Grand Slam tournament of the new season, Toni admitted after the first round loss to compatriot Fernando Verdasco that Rafa has to change his game and would understand it if his nephew decides to make changes in his coaching team.
Back in October 2015, Toni also asked about the possible coaching change within Nadal’s camp and the elder Nadal admitted that even as a long-time coach, Rafa would have to consider making some changes if he completely struggles in the 2016 season.
“I think you need to ask Rafael. But we have a group and I’m the coach of Rafael forever, since Rafael was three years old and things were always good for us,” Toni Nadal said via tennis.com.
“It’s true that this year he’s going a little down but I am sure the comeback of Rafael is coming soon. Maybe if next year Rafael is playing not too good, then I think he can think about some changes in his game or in his team.”
“Going a little down” is an understatement for Nadal after his embarrassing exit in the first round in Melbourne and the long-time partnership between the uncle and nephew will be tested if Nadal continues to struggle this season.
Nadal has actually recovered a bit moving up to World No. 5 at the end of the 2015 ATP Season after he saw his rankings drop all the way down to World No. 10 in the middle of the year. However, his rankings will fall again when the latest points are computed after the 2016 Australian Open.
Should Nadal fire his uncle this early? Should Nadal add a new coach in his team to improve his chances in the 2016 tennis season?