Boris Becker has weighed in on the Rafael Nadal and Denis Shapovalov row after the young Canadian accused the Big Three of receiving preferential treatment from umpires. Shapovalov blasted the umpire for being “corrupt” when claiming the world No 5 deserved time violations during their five-set quarter-final on Tuesday.
Nadal needed four hours and eight minutes to overcome the world No 14 6-3 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3 in a tough battle on Rod Laver Arena.
Nadal struggled with a stomach issue as he called the trainer in the fourth set and took some tablets, attempting to keep himself cool with ice towels and the famous air conditioning tubes, eventually closing out a five-set victory to book a place in his seventh semi-final in Melbourne.
As well as his stomach problems, the Spaniard was forced to battle through multiple outbursts from his opponent, who wanted Nadal to receive time violations for taking too long between sets and points.
Between the first and second sets, the Canadian complained that Nadal was taking too much time to be ready at the baseline, telling umpire Carlos Bernardes: “You started the clock 45 seconds ago – he is still not ready to play. He is still not ready to play. You have got to code him.”
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The Canadian continued: “Every other match that I have played, the pace has been so quick because the refs have been on the clock after every single point. This one, after the first two sets it was like an hour and a half just because he’s dragged out so much after every single point. He’s given so much time in between sets and all this. It’s just dragged out.”
But Nadal shut down his claims saying he “made a lot of mistakes too when I was younger” as he responded: “I really believe that on the court you don’t deserve better treatment than the others. And I really don’t want it and I don’t feel I have it.”
Now, two-time Aussie Open champion Boris Becker has weighed in and sided with Shapovalov.
Speaking on Eurosport, the former world No 1 claimed: “If the umpire strictly follows the rules, Shapovalov is right.”
While the retired German thought the likes of Nadal and his fellow 20-time Major champions Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic had earned special treatment, he agreed that the umpire needed to go with the rulebook.
“The server decides how fast you play. Nadal was not ready to return within 45 seconds,” he continued.
“But players like Nadal and also Djokovic or Federer have earned a certain status – nevertheless, you have to follow up on that.”