Toni Nadal insists the decision to leave Rafael Nadal's coaching team at the end of 2017 does not stem from a personal issue with his nephew. After 27 years coaching the 14-time grand slam champion, Uncle Toni has taken the decision to slip into the background just two months on from former world number one Carlos Moya joining Nadal's team.
The 57-year-old revealed his decision, which will see him work at Rafa's academy in Mallorca from next year, during a coaching conference in Budapest last week prior to informing Nadal. The revelation, disclosed by an Italian publication, included suggestions he has grown frustrated over his lack of influence in the career of the two-time Olympic gold medallist.
Moya joined the team last December and the first major tournament of his partnership with Nadal saw him reach the final of the Australian Open, where he lost in five sets to Roger Federer. The performance, in just Nadal's second tournament appearance since October after a wrist injury, was hugely influenced by his fellow-Mallorcan who altered his court position and aggressiveness.
And according to Toni, the move saw him sidelined and reduced his influence on the world number six. "When someone's been number one like Carlos, we didn't know whether he would be really involved in the work or if he had other priorities," Toni told the New York Times.
"But in these two months, I could clearly see his commitment, his desire to work and his professionalism. And that's when I thought: 'OK, here is a guy who is doing the work perfectly. I can dedicate myself to other things.' If Carlos had not come on board, I would have continued."
However, Rafa's uncle is unwilling to cut all professional ties with the left-hander and will remain in the wings should he be required to accompany him on tour. Francis Roig is the other permanent member of Nadal's set-up, and the team which underpinned his run to the final in Melbourne could yet be reunited.
"Look, next year, if Rafael asks me to come to Monte Carlo for the tournament because, say, Carlos Moya can't make it, I'll be delighted to do it," he added.. "All this decision means is that my contribution needs to become secondary and that I will focus on the academy. This is the reality, but it's not the reality to say I have a problem with my nephew. Absolutely not."