Rafael Nadal US Open 2022

‘It’s a joke!’ exclaims Rafael Nadal on question of special treatment

Rafael Nadal has laughed off any suggestion that he receives special treatment from umpires regarding time taken between points. 

The four-time US Open champion survived a scare against 21-year-old wildcard Rinky Hijikata to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 in his awaited return to Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Nadal is generally considered an upstanding sportsman, though he does receive criticism for the time he takes between points, with some, including seven-time Major champion John McEnroe, claiming he is treated differently by umpires.

“I think it’s a joke,” Nadal said laughing when pulled up on the point in his post-match press conference. “I’ve gone through a lot of warnings in my tennis career. Never for breaking a racket, never for doing a mess on court. But, yes, for the time clock.

“I have a problem that I am sweating a lot. When you are playing during these very humid conditions, we have the biggest problem today, that is we don’t have the ballboys bringing the towel to you for the last couple of years.

“You have to go to the farthest place of the court to take the towel. The problem for players like me that are sweating that much, you know when you go to pick up the towel, you going to be in trouble with the time. So I am not going very often.”

“I don’t think I’m receiving a different treatment at all. I don’t understand why John (McEnroe) can say that on the TV. But I’m going to have a chat with him later,’ he finished, smiling.

Nadal is playing his first US Open since claiming the title in 2019, his longest ever absence from a single Slam.



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