Madrid: Rafael Nadal's coach has criticized the appointment of a woman as the captain of Spain's Davis Cup team. Gala Leon, a former WTA player, became the first woman to be appointed captain of the country's Davis Cup team on Sunday, replacing Carlos Moya.
"It is preferable that (the Davis Cup captain) is someone with a background in the world of men's tennis," said Toni Nadal, Rafael Nadal's coach and uncle.
Toni Nadal said he expected the job to go to a former men's player, such as Juan Carlos Ferrero. "I have nothing against her, I don't know what her capabilities are and I hope she does her job well, but in theory she is a person that doesn't know men's tennis, because men's tennis isn't the same as women's tennis," Toni Nadal told Onda Cero radio on Tuesday.
"The truth is that the men's game isn't the same as the women's game on the tactical level, not that one is better than the other."
Toni Nadal said he would have agreed with the decision if "you could tell me that she had spent 10 years coaching" on the men's circuit. The 40-year-old Leon has received the support of Andy Murray, who tweeted his congratulations. Murray is coached by Amelie Mauresmo.
International Tennis Federation vice president Juan Margets also congratulated Leon in a letter, according to the Spanish tennis federation. Rafael Nadal last played for Spain a year ago. Spain has lost both series it has played without the 14-time Grand Slam champion. Its 3-1 loss at Brazil last weekend relegated the five-time champions from the World Group for the first time since 1999, leading to Moya's exit.
Toni Nadal said that Leon's appointment would not stop Rafael from returning to the team. Leon played 651 WTA matches and won one title at the Madrid Open in 2000, the year she reached her highest rank of 27. She played for Spain's Fed Cup team in 1996-97, 1999, 2001. After retiring, she coached several female players and in June became the first women to be appointed sports director of the Spanish tennis federation.