SEN tennis commentator Brett Phillips has declared Rafael Nadal wastes far too much time on the court, and it’s time for the authorities to clamp down.
While he put in an admirable effort last night in his quarter-final loss to Marin Čilić, retiring hurt in the final set, Phillips believes the world number one’s routine is frustrating to endure.
“I think grunting is one thing, but there is a bigger issue with Nadal and that’s the amount of time he takes to play a tennis match,” he told SEN Afternoons.
“He gets away with absolute murder, let me tell you.
“Last night, Marin Čilić got a time violation, and he said you got to be joking, look at the bloke on the other end of the court who has two towels and has to sort his drink bottles out.
“He wastes everyone’s time. He has gotten away with it for that long. I love him and it’s hard not to, but watching his tennis matches are painful at times.
“The ATP are looking at all these innovations right now, and I was at the tournament with the shot clock, and Nadal hated it because he wasn’t able to do all the things he wanted to do.
“He is always making everyone wait and he has gotten away with it for far too long.”
Grunting has been a constant theme of discussion at the Australian Open, after Aryna Sabalenka drew spades of criticism for the vocal effect in a match against Ash Barty last week.
SEN Afternoons host Andy Maher has pondered the question why Nadal doesn’t cop the same amount of disapproval from the masses for grunting.
“Is it below the belt to criticise Rafa for anything?” he said.
“Particularly when the bloke left it all out on the court last night and couldn’t finish the match.
“We are absolutely recognising he is one of the all time greats, not only of his sport, but of sport in the generation that he has been competing. This is a bloke who has done as much as he possibly can.
“Honestly, if he was an Estonian women, who was ranked 35 in the world, and she was doing that, we would be ripping into her saying, she is trying to hide the noise off her racquet so they don’t know whether she has come over the top of it, all those thing that (Maria) Sharapova has had to carry over her career.
“He doesn’t cop the same level of criticism for the noise that he makes.”