Rafael Nadal once complained against chair umpire Carlos Bernardes which sparked discussions about whether players should have a say in who officiates their matches.
The dispute arose during Nadal’s semifinal match at the 2015 ATP tournament in Rio, mainly revolving around time violations, a recurring issue in Nadal’s matches.
Nadal had previously expressed his displeasure with time violations being strictly enforced and requested that Bernardes not officiate his matches. Following this request, Bernardes was not assigned to any of Nadal’s matches, according to both Nadal and the ATP.
“The thing is easy. I asked [not] be umpired for some umpires in my career few times.”-Rafael Nadal in the post match interview
Nadal argued that time violations should be reconsidered, especially in challenging conditions like high humidity. He cited an instance at the French Open where he received a time warning for fixing his shorts.
“You can talk about all the people who work on the ATP, everybody if I really had some problem during the 13 years, or 13 or 19 years that I gonna have my career, if I never had one serious problem with nobody, if I was not respectful with anyone, and then you come to Mallorca and you ask to me”-Rafael Nadal in the post match interview
While Nadal stated the significance of his request, some players, including Novak Djokovic, questioned the idea of players influencing umpires assignments. Djokovic admitted to being unhappy with certain chair umpires in the past but never considered making such a request.
“There are some chair umpires in some matches that I remember that I wasn’t very happy with how they did their job. But, I never thought of requesting a chair umpire not to be chair umpire in my matches.”-Novak Djokovic’s views on the controversy
Some other top players like Stan Wawrinka, and Roger Federer also commented emphasizing the importance of treating all players equally and arguing that requests should only be granted if umpires make officiating errors, not due to personal conflicts.
Roger Federer gives a touching visit to Rafael Nadal’s Academy in Mallorca
Soon after the news of Rafael Nadal‘s unfortunate withdrawal from the 2024 Australian Open, the beloved Spaniard managed to capture our hearts once again by reuniting with his rival friend Roger Federer.
The duo were spotted together at Nadal’s tennis academy in Mallorca, Spain on Wednesday, January 17, providing a nostalgic moment for fans amid the ongoing Melbourne major.
During the visit, Federer interacted with photographers and trainees at the academy, sharing moments with young players like Eric, who humorously referred to themselves as a part of the ‘Big 3’. Federer also took a photo with Joan Nadal, the son of Toni Nadal, who serves as the academy’s director.
“Big 3! Roger, Rafa and me! What a day! Only in #RNA”-the fan captioned in his Instagram post
Nadal shared several images from his time at the academy, expressing gratitude for the 20-time Grand Slam champion for his visit and expressing hope for another one in the future.