Tennis star Rafael Nadal slammed former legend John McEnroe over his criticism of the Spaniard’s use of the time clock, saying he hasn’t gotten preferential treatment in his career from chair umpires.
“I think it’s a joke,” said Nadal.
The world’s second-ranked men’s player was responding to insinuations that McEnroe had made, when he suggested that officials have given Nadal undue leeway between serves — which Nadal lamented as false, and shot back at the American commentator for his on-the-court transgressions.
“I went through a lot of warnings throughout my tennis career,” Nadal said. “Never for breaking a racket, but yes for the time clock.”
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Tennis pros are expected to serve within 25 seconds after their previous shot, but Nadal has sometimes breached that limit — though chair umpires have used their discretion to avoid penalizing the Spanish-born player.
“I have a problem that I am sweating a lot. When you are playing during these very humid conditions,” said Nadal, who won his opening match against Rinky Hijikata of Australia in 4 sets on Tuesday night.
McEnroe, meanwhile, has won 7 Grand Slam singles titles, including 4 at the US Open.
He also developed a reputation for his on-the-court antics, as he often feuded with chair umpires and linesmen during his career.
Because ball boys do not hand towels to players on the court, due to COVID-19 precautions, players need to venture toward their chairs to relieve themselves of sweat, and Nadal attributed his additional time to that added time burden.
“I don’t think I have a different treatment for the umpires,” he said.
“I don’t understand why John can say that on the TV, but I am going to have a chat with him later,” Nadal added.
Rafael Nadal is the most decorated men’s singles player ever, as he has won 22 major tournaments in his career at 26-years-old.
He is playing in this year’s US Open as the #2-ranked player in the world, searching for his 23rd Grand Slam Title — as Roger Federer (injury) and Novak Djokovic (unvaccinated), the 2 other men with 20-or-more titles, are both absent.
Nadal will play Italian-born Fabio Fognini in the 2nd round of the Open on Thursday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium.