“He Has Played His Cards”: Rafael Nadal Opens Up on Time Wasting Row in 3rd-Round Win Over Cameron Norrie

Published 06/06/2021, 4:35 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 5, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his third round match against Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie REUTERS/Benoit Tessier


Rafael Nadal has opened up on British third-round opponent Cameron Norrie complaining to the chair umpire about his alleged slowness between points at the Court Suzanne Lenglen on Saturday.

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Speaking to reporters after beating Norrie in straight sets and reaching another round-of-16 at Roland-Garros, Nadal said the Briton tried to put pressure on the chair umpire when he needed to reach for the towel between games.

The Spaniard added that the towels are placed fairly far from where the players are, hinting that there needs to be an allowance for some more time for players if they need to reach for the towel between points or games.

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Rafael Nadal says he needs to reach for the towel between points

“He has tried to put pressure on the referee, but between games I need to go to the towel, which is very far,” Nadal said.

He added that while his opponent played his “cards” in pressuring the umpire into giving him a warning for time violation, he could also have made a big deal out of Norrie throwing the ball wrong while serving.

The Spaniard said he made a conscious effort to move quicker between games after receiving an unofficial warning from the umpire.

“He has played his cards. I have not said anything when he has thrown the ball wrong 20 times when serving. (The) chair has warned me and I have tried to go faster,” Nadal said.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 5, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his third round match against Great Britain’s Cameron Norrie REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

Apart from the minor controversy around the alleged wastage of time, the ‘King of Clay’  had things well under control against the 45th-ranked Norrie.

Nadal beat Cameron Norrie in straight sets to move to Round 4

Serving well and whipping winners off the handle, Nadal was on song through the entire stretch of the match and scored decisive breaks of serve in all three games to record a comfortable 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 win.

Watch This Story: INSANE: Stats That Show Why Rafael Nadal Is ‘King of Clay’

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He will next play rising Italian tennis star Jannik Sinner, in a rematch of their absorbing tussle at the Italian Open.

Though the Spaniard won the match in straight sets, he faced a tough examination, especially in the opening set.

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With Sinner playing sublime tennis and reaching the fourth-round on the back of some impressive wins, it wouldn’t be a stroll for Nadal on Monday.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1101 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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