John McEnroe told Insiders earlier this year he believes Rafael Nadal gets preferential treatment from the referees.
The American made the proposal again during Nadal’s first-round win at the US Open on Tuesday.
Nadal called his comments a “joke”.
Rafael Nadal has lashed out at John McEnroe over claims the Spaniard is given preferential treatment by referees over his slow service routine.
McEnroe told Insider earlier this year He believes Nadal ‘gets away with more’ because he’s such a great player.
“Rafa has his ritual which lasts 30 seconds every time he plays a point,” said the American tennis legend. “If you’re that great, you can get away with it.”
Nadal came off a set to beat wildcard Rinky Hijikata in the first round of Tuesday’s US Open, while the game commentator McEnroe again suggested giving Nadal special treatment. according to Fox Sports.
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After the match, Nadal called McEnroe’s accusation a “joke”.
“I play by the rules,” he said. “If I have more than 25 seconds, I get a warning every time. If not, look at the clock.”
Players are allowed 25 seconds between points and two minutes between sets, all measured by a shot clock.
“I don’t think I’ll be treated any differently at all,” added Nadal. “I don’t understand why John can say that on TV, but I’ll have a chat with him later.”
McEnroe relied on his previous allegations against Nadal at the time speaking to Insider about superstitions he held as a player.
“I didn’t have any major superstitions,” McEnroe said. “Sometimes I would step on lines in odd games and not on the same lines in twos games, or I would purposely match outfits because that was how I was winning.
“It was things like that. I wasn’t nearly as bad as Rafa.”
The American further referenced Nadal’s famous serving routine, with the Spaniard tucking his hair behind his ear, tucking his nose and adjusting his shorts before each serve while bouncing the ball multiple times.
“That’s one of the incentives of being the best – you get away with more, as evidenced by what I’ve done on the pitch at times and what he does, albeit in a very classic way,” he said.
A Nadal representative, when asked about McEnroe’s comments to Insider, replied: “The time between the points is measured by a clock that the players, referees and audience can see.
“If a player falls below the allowed rule time, he will automatically receive a warning. So I don’t really see the discussion on this matter anymore.”
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