Australian Open: Rafael Nadal reacts to win over Michael Mmoh
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Rafael Nadal has progressed to the semi-final of the Australian Open after a tense victory over Canadian Denis Shapovalov. The Spaniard is pursuing a record 21st Grand Slam title which would put him one ahead of Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. In the aftermath of the match, Shapovalov claimed Nadal gets “preferential treatment” from umpires. Shapovalov made it clear he wasn’t happy over the amount of time Nadal was taking at the start of the second set and how long Nadal was taking to get ready to receive serve.
Nadal denies the claims made by his opponent.
Nadal, the 2009 Australian Open champion and five-time finalist, is widely regarded as one of the best of his generation.
While his technique has won many plaudits, Nick Kyrgios once took issue with the Spaniard’s serving.
During an Australian Open match in 2020, Kyrgios and his opponent Gilles Simon mocked Nadal’s service routine.
Kyrgios pretended to sweep back his hair and pick at his shorts, prompting the crowd, and chair umpire Jaume Campistol, to laugh.
A year earlier, Kyrgios had criticised Nadal for his serving at Wimbledon.
After being defeated in that clash, Kyrgios said: “I’m ready to serve, how long are we going to wait? I’m ready to serve the ball.
“When he’s serving, he’s controlling the tempo. Why do I have to wait for my serve? Why am I waiting? Why?
“It’s too long between serves, it’s bull****. It’s ridiculous.”
And then when Nadal took a toilet break, Kyrgios said to the umpire: “What is this stuff bro? Play the game, play the game. It’s stupid. You guys (umpires) are the worst of the lot, you’re so biased.
“Tell him. Do it then, don’t say it, do it! He’s been doing it for 20 years.”
This wasn’t the only tense moment between Nadal and Kyrgios.
In 2019 at Acapulco, Nadal was not impressed with Kyrgios’ attitude, with the Australian sending in a couple of underarm serves having also complained about feeling ill – all before saving three match points and winning the game.
Following this encounter, Nadal said of the Australian: “He could win Grand Slams and fight the top positions of the ranking, but there is a reason why he is where he is.
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“I don’t think he’s a bad guy, not at all, I think he’s a good guy. But what he lacks is a little respect for the public, for his rival and also for himself.
“I think he should improve that.”
At 35 years of age, Nadal is reaching the twilight of his career.
In October, he dropped a hint about when he will retire.
Last month, former French Open finalist Alex Corretja backed Nadal to continue winning.
He said: “Rafa will retire being a winner, whatever happens.
“No matter how he was before, he has to assess how he wants to face what he has left from now on, but being Rafa you always have the feeling that he still has a bullet in his chamber to do something great.
“You can never doubt special people like him, even if he comes from a very long injury and the process that he will have now will be difficult, I trust that there is still that great title to celebrate with him.
“A great title I mean a Grand Slam, because a Masters 1,000 more or less is not going to change anything.
As for being No 1, it will be quite difficult because for that he needs to play a lot of tournaments, be very consistent, and that is no longer in his head.
“It has already been No 1 many times, it does not matter the weeks, and that is secondary.”
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