Coach Toni: This will be my previous year with Rafael Nadal

After 2017 though, that dynamic will be changing as well. And the truth is that every year I decide even less, until the point that I won't decide anything anymore.

Toni Nadal told Il Tennis Italiano. During all these years, we have never been through a crisis, ' he added.

"From next year I will no longer follow Rafael on the circuit but will dedicate myself exclusively to our academy", he said.

Rafael Nadal's coach and uncle has announced a shock split from the 14-time Grand Slam champion, according to reports in Italy. That includes Carlos Costa and new coach Carlos Moya, as well as Rafa's father.

His old foe Federer got the better of him in the final of the year's first major, winning 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3. Nadal and Moya take certain weeks off to be with family, and Roig works with other players, so the three divvy up the year's schedule to accommodate their other personal and professional obligations.

Nadal's spokesman Benito Perez told AFP the decision was unexpected.

'If he said that, then he means just that. "I have travelled with Rafa for a lot of years, and now I want to go back to training young people and our academy is the ideal place". I think that's kept me going quite easily actually, because I know why I'm playing tennis.

Nadal has been coached by his uncle throughout his illustrious career and has won 69 ATP singles titles, the sixth most in the Open Era.

  • Julie Sanders