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Rafael Nadal hit out at John McEnroe after the tennis commentator once again accused the star of getting preferential treatment from umpires


  • John McEnroe told Insider earlier this year he believes Rafael Nadal is given preferential treatment by umpires.
  • The American made the suggestion again during Nadal’s first round win at the US Open on Tuesday.
  • Nadal called his comments a “joke.”

Rafael Nadal has hit out at John McEnroe over claims the Spaniard is given preferential treatment by umpires over his slow service routine.

McEnroe told Insider earlier this year he believes Nadal “gets away with more” because he is such a great player.

“Rafa has got his ritual that takes 30 seconds every time he plays a point,” the American tennis legend said. “If you’re that great you can get away with it.”

Nadal came from a set down to beat wildcard Rinky Hijikata in the first round of the US Open on Tuesday, during which McEnroe, who was commentating on the match, once again suggested Nadal is given special treatment, according to Fox Sports.

After the match, Nadal called McEnroe’s accusation a “joke.”

“I am following the rules,” he said. “If I am having more than 25 seconds I receive a warning every single time. If not, check the clock.”

Players are allowed 25 seconds between points and two minutes between sets, all timed by a shot clock.

“I don’t think I’m receiving different treatment at all,” added Nadal. “I don’t understand why John can say that on the TV, but I am going to have a chat with him later.”

Rafael Nadal, John McEnroe.

Rafael Nadal, John McEnroe.

Getty/Adam Glanzman; Getty/Foto Olimpik


McEnroe made his earlier accusations against Nadal when talking to Insider about superstitions he had as a player.

“I didn’t have any major superstitions,” said McEnroe. “Sometimes, I’d step on lines on odd games and not step on the same lines in deuce games, or I’d mismatch outfits on purpose because I was winning that way.

“It was those sort of things. I wasn’t nearly as bad as Rafa.”

The American went on to reference Nadal’s famous serving routine, in which before each serve, the Spaniard places his hair behind his ear, pulls his nose and adjusts his shorts while bouncing the ball numerous times. 

“That’s one of the incentives of being the best — you get away with more, as evidenced by what I did at times on the court and what he does, in a totally classier way, though,” he said.

A representative for Nadal, when asked about McEnroe’s comments to Insider, responded: “The time between points are timed by a clock that both players, umpire and public can see.

“If any player goes below the rules time allow they automatically get a warning. So I don’t really see anymore the discussion about this matter.”

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