Rafael Nadal says he is planning talks with John McEnroe after a frosty exchange in his post-match press conference at the US Open. The 22-time Grand Slam winner came from a set down to beat world No 180 Rinky Hijikata in his opening match of the tournament in New York.
Nadal is the favourite to clinch the final Grand Slam of the year with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer absent. However, the Spanish did not take kindly to his legacy being questioned because of the warnings he receives for time violations.
Nadal has built a notorious reputation for taking his time between points and frequently breaches the permitted allowance. The 36-year-old was asked if this will leave a ‘shadow’ over his career and it was put to him that John McEnroe suggested he gets preferential treatment.
“I think it’s a joke,” Nadal responded. “I went through a lot of warnings through my tennis career and never for breaking a racket or for doing a mess on court, but yes I have for the time clock.
“I have a problem that I am sweating a lot and when you are playing in these very humid conditions… We have the biggest problem today, we don’t have the ball boys bringing the towel to you for the last couple of years. You have to go to the farthest place on the court to take the towel.
“The problem for players like me who are sweating a lot, you know when you go to pick up the towel you will be in trouble with the time, so I’m not going very often.
“I don’t think I have a different treatment from the umpires at all.”
The US Open moderator attempted to move the topic on but Nadal intervened: “No no, I am happy to have the conversation.”
Nadal was asked if he should have a different rule because he sweats a lot.
“I didn’t play much for the last 50 days so I have to be humble and accept the process of building positive things in practice. It is a moment to survive, stay positive and accept how things happen.
“I am just enjoying the fact that I am here, and I am here to try my best every day.”