Thursday 8 December 2016

"It's time to sack your uncle and get a new damn coach" - Rafa Nadal is warned

Published 03/07/2015 | 13:37

Rafael Nadal of Spain prepares to walk off court after losing his match against Dustin Brown of Germany
Rafael Nadal of Spain prepares to walk off court after losing his match against Dustin Brown of Germany

Rafael Nadal has been urged by John McEnroe to sack his uncle Toni as his coach if he wants to regain his former glories.

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Nadal was left reeling by another shock defeat at Wimbledon on Thursday, as he crashed out in four sets to German Dustin Brown - the fourth consecutive time he has lost at Wimbledon to a player ranked outside the world's top 100.

It was another miserable moment in a troubled season for Nadal, who has won just two tour titles all year and failed to go past the quarter-finals at any grand slam event.

It has led to many pundits wondering whether the Spaniard will ever regain the kind of form which saw him claim 14 grand slam titles, including two men's titles at Wimbledon.

Now McEnroe has added his voice to the debate, saying that Nadal should consider the unthinkable and dispense with the services of his uncle and mentor Toni, who has coached him his entire career.

Speaking on his BBC Radio Five Six-Love-Six programme: "Rafael Nadal is one of the great champions - a class act. He plays with a lot of effort and energy but, dare we say, is it time for some fresh blood in the Nadal camp? Can we say that? Uncle Toni's going to be upset.

Rafael Nadal and Dustin Brown following their match during day Four of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 2, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Rafael Nadal and Dustin Brown following their match during day Four of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 2, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.

"I know that he has had other people like Carlos Costa and they have tried to gently persuade Uncle Toni [to change]. He has done a magnificent job since he was a little kid and told him it was a good thing to go left-handed - but clearly at this stage it would appear that some fresh ideas would be in order."

After being told he was being diplomatic by co-presenter Tim Henman, McEnroe replied: "I'm saying get a new damn coach!"

Nadal's approach against Brown - who relied almost exclusively on serve-volley tactics - was also criticised by other coaches, with Brad Gilbert saying he would have adopted a different approach:

Nadal himself did not suggest that he would look at his backroom team after the defeat to Brown.

"Obviously this is a bad moment for me. I need to accept these kind of things that can happen. I have done that all my career," he said.

"I'll keep going - it's not the end. It's a sad moment, but life continues. My career too. I have to keep going and working more than ever to try to change that dynamic.

"I know I am going to every tournament with the right motivation, working well. I think I made all the things well to prepare here this tournament.

"In 2012 and 2013 I was not competitive because I had too many problems with my knees. Last year and this year there have been no problems at all with my knees. I was ready to compete. I lost."

Dustin Brown celebrates victory over Rafael Nadal on day Four of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 2, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.
Dustin Brown celebrates victory over Rafael Nadal on day Four of the Wimbledon Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday July 2, 2015. See PA Story TENNIS Wimbledon. Photo credit should read Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only. No commercial use without prior written consent of the AELTC. Still image use only - no moving images to emulate broadcast. No superimposing or removal of sponsor/ad logos. Call +44 (0)1158 447447 for further information.

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