Paris: Rafael Nadal insisted that he had nothing against Carlos Bernardes. But he put in a request with men's tennis governing body, ATP, anyway to keep the Brazilian chair umpire away from his matches. And the ATP has obliged.
Brazilian chair umpire Carlos Bernardes
According to Nadal, who opened his campaign for a record 10th French Open title with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 win over French wildcard Quentin Halys yesterday, said the breaking point for him was at the Rio Open in February when Bernardes had shown him absolutely no leeway.
Lack of respect
"For me, he was not enough respectful with me in Rio de Janeiro. That was my feeling when I put my shorts the other way. He wants to put me under warnings four times, that's fine. But if I put my shorts other way and I ask him if I can change my shorts, I can put my shorts the right way, and his answer is, 'Yes, but you will receive a time warning.' For me, that's not fair.
I cannot play a full game with the shorts the other way," recalled Nadal. There are rigid rules in tennis with breaks between points, games and sets, toilet breaks and even injury timeouts very well defined.
Spain's Rafael Nadal during his Round One match against Quentin Halys in Paris yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
Nadal was given a two time violations for taking more than the prescribed 25 seconds between points. It didn't help that he went on to lose the semi-final match against Italy's Fabio Fognini in three sets.
"Yes, it was my request, I asked if it's possible, but nothing personal against him 100 per cent. I respect him like umpire, I respect him like person, and I consider him a good person more than that. I am not happy with that situation. I respect him, I like him, but he was not right. And I believe that is for relationship and everything is better to be away for a bit," the Spanish ace added.
Nadal has often run trouble with the law-keepers of the game for taking too long between serves or points than the stipulated time. But the ATP seems to have taken the prudent way out with one of their most marketable stars.