SPORTS

Nadal's uncle and coach criticizes appointment of woman as Spain's Davis Cup captain

FILE - In this March 10, 2004 file photo, Gala Leon of Spain celebrates her victory over Tatiana Panova of Russia at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, Calif. In a statement released Sunday Sept. 21, 2014, the Spanish tennis federation says it has appointed former WTA player Gala Leon as captain of its David Cup team, replacing Carlos Moya, who stepped down as captain after Spain fell out of the World Group. Rafael Nadal's coach and uncle, Toni Nadal has criticized the appointment of a woman as the captain of Spain's Davis Cup team telling Onda Cero radio "it is preferable that (the Davis Cup captain) is someone with a background in the world of men's tennis."(AP Photo/Laura Rauch, File)

FILE - In this March 10, 2004 file photo, Gala Leon of Spain celebrates her victory over Tatiana Panova of Russia at the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, Calif. In a statement released Sunday Sept. 21, 2014, the Spanish tennis federation says it has appointed former WTA player Gala Leon as captain of its David Cup team, replacing Carlos Moya, who stepped down as captain after Spain fell out of the World Group. Rafael Nadal's coach and uncle, Toni Nadal has criticized the appointment of a woman as the captain of Spain's Davis Cup team telling Onda Cero radio "it is preferable that (the Davis Cup captain) is someone with a background in the world of men's tennis."(AP Photo/Laura Rauch, File)

Rafael Nadal's coach has criticized the appointment of a woman as the captain of Spain's Davis Cup team.

Gala León García, a former women's pro, became the first woman to be appointed captain of the country's Davis Cup team on Sunday, replacing Carlos Moya, who resigned after Spain was defeated by Brazil, 3-1.

She is only the fifth female captain in the 114-year history of the tournament.

"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.

He added that León García's appointment could cause problems all the way down "to the locker room level."

The 40-year-old former WTA pro 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 León 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 León's appointment would not stop Rafael from returning to the team.

León 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.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

Follow us on twitter.com/foxnewslatino
Like us at facebook.com/foxnewslatino