Barbara Wancke | 5th Mar 2018 | 1
French Open | Awesome Nadal blasts umpire
Picture © Getty Images
Rafa Nadal is definitely on a mission – his objective? To win a record-breaking 10th French Open title and if he continues on his current form there can be no reason for him not realising that dream.
If you want to play well, you have to let players breathe a little. We’re not machines that cannot think. That’s my viewpoint.Rafa Nadal
The Spaniard over his last two matches, has been ‘awesome’. He humiliated Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-0 6-1 6-1 in the third round requiring just 90-minutes to go forward and meet compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut the 17th seed, whom he dismantled 6-1 6-2 6-2 to reach his 11th quarter final at Roland Garros.
And he is no mood to be distracted from his purpose and criticized Carlos Ramos accusing the umpire of treating him unfairly in the organiser’s efforts to speed up play.
There is certainly more attention being made of the 20 second rule which Nadal and even Djokovic are tending to break. On this occasion Nadal was first warned during the first set for slow play and then again in the third before Ramos docked him a first serve.
“If you want to play well, you have to let players breathe a little. We’re not machines that cannot think. That’s my viewpoint,” said Nadal. “What else can I say? I’m telling you this with some sadness, because I don’t want to have any problems.
“But this umpire is, I think, trying, in a certain way, to look for my faults, my errors.”
The problem is that there is too much inconsistency amongst the umpires and the rule itself is not the same on the ATP Tour where 25-seconds are allowed.
Nadal warmed to his theme by pointing out that umpires have different styles of approach and ‘dictate things or give calls in a certain way” while calling for a clock on the court – “… they are not here to use the stopwatch, otherwise we should have a stopwatch on the court” he suggested.
And however often he is ‘penalised’, the King of Clay is not likely to change his now well-known habits leading up to his service action and expects to receive plenty of warnings.
Even Batista Agut agreed with Nadal. “Rafa and I need need to run around a lot. Having the pressure of the umpires is something we don’t really need,” said the 29-year-old. “I don’t think I really agree with that rule.”
Reflecting on the match itself, Nadal commented: “I’m happy because Roberto is a very good player. It’s very important for me to be in the quarter-finals one more time,” said Nadal, who celebrated his 31st birthday on Saturday. “Probably I didn’t play as well as I did the other day, but I still played well.”
Picture © Getty Images
The spat aside, Nadal now faces another fellow Spaniard, Pablo Carrena Busta who came through a marathon match to dispatch the fifth seeded Canadian, Milos Raonic finally converting his seventh match to secure a 4-6 7-6(2) 6-7(6) 6-4 8-6 after four-hours and 17-minutes of play.
For the 25-year-old it will be his first quarter-final at a grand slam event and he will attempt to stop the steam-rolling Nadal who, if victorious, should go on and meet Novak Djokovic in the semis, the Serb having successfully negotiated his way past Albert Ramos Vinolas of Spain, following a tricky first set, 7-6(5) 6-1 6-3.
The Serb needed 75 minutes to clinch the opening set but then outclassed the 19th seed to set up a showdown with Dominic Thiem, the sixth seed from Austria, who dismantled Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos 6-1 6-3 6-1.
“There’s no easy match in a Grand Slam quarter-final, it will be very difficult for both of us,” said Djokovic of his upcoming challenge.
Japan’s Kei Nishikori fought off a fierce challenge from South Korea’s Hyeon Chung in an all-Asian tussle held over from Saturday by rain with Chung unfortunately double faulting on match point to hand the eighth seed a 7-5 6-4 6-7(4/7) 0-6 6-4 victory.
“I think the rain (on Saturday) helps me a lot, because I was really down in the fourth set and mentally I wasn’t ready,” admitted Nishikori, who faces Fernando Verdasco next.
Karen Khachanov will play Andy Murray in the fourth round after the giant Russian beat American 21st seed John Isner 7-6(1) 6-3 6-7(5) 7-6(3).