Rafael Nadal fires back over John McEnroe’s criticism at US Open

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Rafael Nadal had some unfinished business after his first round victory at the US Open.

The four-time champion of Flushing Meadows was asked about recent comments from ESPN analyst and tennis legend John McEnroe following the Spaniard’s 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 win over Aussie Rinky Hijikata on Tuesday night.

McEnroe has long been critical of the referee’s treatment of Nadal when it comes to the shot clock between serves, on the assumption that the star is getting preferential treatment.

“I think it’s a joke, you know,” Nadal said when asked if he thought McEnroe’s innuendo would affect his legacy. “I got a lot of warnings during my tennis career. Never for breaking a racket, but for the time clock. My problem is that I sweat a lot. When you play in these very humid conditions.”

Nadal argued that due to COVID, the ball boys are no longer giving towels directly to the players, and the process of getting one from the “furthest place” can be time consuming. Players have 25 seconds between points to serve.

Rafael Nadal celebrates at the US Open on August 30, 2022.
USA TODAY Sports
John McEnroe umpire at a US Open charity event on August 24, 2022.
John McEnroe umpire at a US Open charity event on August 24, 2022.
AP

“The problem for players like me, who sweat so much, if you go get a towel, you get problems with time,” said Nadal. “I don’t think I have any other treatment for the umpires.”

It’s unclear whether McEnroe criticized Nadal’s treatment during Tuesday’s first-round match. In the past, however, it has been a problem for the outspoken analyst.

“If you’re going to do it, do it, otherwise you won’t bother. It’s like cheering everyone on,” McEnroe said on the EuroSport broadcast during Nadal’s run to his 14th French Open title in June. “It’s a joke! He looks at the clock one more time… one. He finishes it, doesn’t he? Shouldn’t they have it at 15 seconds on the second serve? 10? Something?”

Nadal is going for his fifth US Open title and is making an incredible run in the Grand Slams this season. He won the Australian Open and French Open and had to leave Wimbledon with a stomach injury after reaching the semifinals. He will face Italian Fabio Fognini in the second round, but it sounds like he will face McEnroe first.

Rafael Nadal defeated Rinky Hijikata in four sets in the first round of the US Open.
Rafael Nadal defeated Rinky Hijikata in four sets in the first round of the US Open.
Larry Marano

“If I have more than 25 seconds, I get a warning every time. Look at the clock…. I don’t understand why John can say that on TV, but I’ll talk to him later,” Nadal said.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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