Grand Slam legends support Denis Shapovalov in Rafael Nadal Australian Open time-wasting row
Mats Wilander and Boris Becker support Denis Shapovalov’s argument that Rafael Nadal time-wasted in their Australian Open match and feel “Nadal, Djokovic and Federer have earned a certain status.”
20-time Grand Slam champion Nadal overcame Canadian youngster Shapovalov in a five-set thriller to set up a quarter-final clash against World number seven Matteo Berrettini.
However, tempers flared when Shapovalov felt the chair umpire wasn’t penalising Nadal for taking too long between points.
The umpire refused to sanction Nadal for a time violation after he took longer than the allocated 45 seconds to serve, much to the chagrin of Shapovalov who launched a court-side tirade against the umpire team where he claimed “you’re all corrupt.”
The two stars then confronted each other at the net in an attempt to resolve and diffuse the situation.
Whilst Shapovalov later said he “misspoke” when he called the umpires corrupt, in his post-match press conference Nadal refuted claims he received preferential treatment and said “he’s wrong in this case.”
Speaking on Eurosport’s Matchball Becker show, Germany’s greatest male player ever and six-time Slam winner Becker said “if the umpire strictly follows the rules, Shapovalov is right. The server decides how fast you play. Nadal was not ready to return within 45 seconds.
“But players like Nadal and also Djokovic or Federer have earned a certain status – nevertheless, you have to follow up on that.
Similarly, seven-time Slam ace Wilander feels Shapovalov’s accusations only proved to fire up Nadal even more, saying “Shapovalov was obviously very emotional, most probably too emotional in my book.
“At the same time, maybe he needed to get fired up. The way he talked to Rafa was respectful and then he got fired up about the chair umpires. He came up against a mental giant.
“I don’t mind this if it is done in the proper way. I think you have to read between the lines, it’s just ‘this guy is taking too long – I don’t care who it is, you guys have to follow the rules’.”
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