Nadal Djokovic US Open

‘Rafael Nadal criticising Novak Djokovic is highly unusual’, says major champion


A winner of multiple Grand Slam titles admitted he is surprised Rafael Nadal has gone against “the code amongst athletes” by criticising Novak Djokovic.

Paul McNamee – who won five majors across men’s and mixed doubles – believes it is “highly unusual” and “not ideal” that the Spaniard has decided to give advice to Djokovic.

World number one Djokovic threw his racket into the empty stands during his bronze medal match defeat to Pablo Carreno Busta at the Tokyo Olympics.

Nadal responded by saying it is “important to avoid” that kind of behaviour and described it as “strange that someone so successful reacts this way”.

“Surprised Rafa actually bothering to respond, and comment, on a peer’s missteps. That’s generally ‘not the code’ amongst athletes, who all know your own fall may only be a moment away,” McNamee said on Twitter.

“I greatly admire Rafa, so it puzzles me. Highly unusual, and raised my eyebrows, for one great to give free advice to a fellow great. It creates news copy but not ideal.

“For the record, I have enormous respect for Rafa & his warrior spirit…King of clay, the surface I love. But I’m still surprised he, or any player, answers questions on peers’ behaviour. Call me old school.”

Nadal Djokovic US Open
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