Rafael Nadal US Open 2022

‘Rafael Nadal can do whatever he wants!’ – John McEnroe blasts back at journalist

John McEnroe has angrily denied claims that he believes Rafael Nadal is ‘staining’ his legacy with unpunished violations of the serve-clock.

A journalist at the US Open told Nadal that McEnroe had made the comments during his television commentary. The Spaniard responded calmly, explaining it’s tough for players to be quick between points whilst playing on Arthur Ashe due to the sheer distance they need to walk to use their towel in the humid conditions.

He also, though, appeared irate at the suggestion, and said he would seek out McEnroe to challenge him about his comments. McEnroe, though, is unhappy with the whole situation – and especially the conduct of the journalist.

Speaking to Eurosport, McEnroe said: “Why did they [the journalist] throw me under the bus [in the press conference]?

“We haven’t had that talk but let me just add that he didn’t let me finish, whoever the journalist was. Rafa Nadal is entitled to do whatever he wants.

“That’s part of why you get as good as [Nadal is]. You’ve got to deal with that. And it’s not up to him.

The serve clock was likely always going to cause Rafael Nadal some issues, and he definitely hasn’t fallen foul of it as much as was initially expected.

McEnroe, though, makes the point that even if there is a case to be answered for preferential treatment, it’s the umpires who must answer it, not Rafael Nadal.

“We all know that he’s been doing this for the past 10 to 15 years,” McEnroe continued. “There’s nothing new to that.

“It’s not his call – it’s the umpires’. And by the way I think it’s BS anyway, that [rule]. No one pays attention to that.

“It should be automatic if you’re actually going to do it, right? And when do they turn it on? Is it at the end of the point? Is it when they get to the towel? Is it when the crowd comes down?

“Now Nadal thinks I’m saying his legacy’s been stained because he takes too much time. Jiminy Cricket [not true]!”

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Michael Graham, Editor, has been a professional sports journalist for his whole career and is especially passionate about tennis. He's been the Editor of for over 5 years and loves watching live tennis by visiting as many tournaments as possible. Michael specialises in writing in-depth features about the ATP & WTA tours.