Madrid: Rafael Nadal's coach and uncle Toni Nadal hasn't ruled out the possibility that the 14-time Grand Slam champion may seek a new or expanded coaching team in a bid to arrest his slide in form. Nadal lost in the first round of a Grand Slam for just the second time in his career to fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco at the Australian Open on Tuesday.
Rafael Nadal. Pic/AFP
"I understand that in sport results come first and if you have to make a change, you have to do it," Toni Nadal told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope on Wednesday. "To lose so early in Australia is one of the biggest disappointments we have had because in the last four months we had been playing well.
"I hope it is only a blip and we move forward." The 29-year-old failed to win a major for the first time in 10 years in 2015 leading commentators such as seven-time Grand Slam champion John McEnroe to call for Nadal to seek fresh ideas away from Toni, who has coached him for his whole career. Nadal admitted after the defeat to Verdasco that the new brand of aggressive tennis on the ATP tour was more difficult for him to handle.
"Everybody hits the ball hard and try to go for the winners in any position," he said. "The game has become a little bit more crazy in this aspect." And Toni admitted it is difficult for his nephew to change style after so much success throughout his career. "The strategy he has played with his whole life matters less now. It isn't easy to change style after 15 years."