“I Am Not Happy With It”: Rafael Nadal Hits Out Over Scheduling at Italian Open 2021

Published 05/13/2021, 3:47 AM EDT
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 12, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his round of 32 match against Italy’s Jannik Sinner REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane


Rafael Nadal has made his displeasure known on the order of play at the ongoing Italian Open tennis tournament. Speaking to reporters after coming out on the winning side of a fiercely-contested third-round battle against home favorite Jannik Sinner, the Spaniard did not hold back on the scheduling of matches at the event.

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Rafael Nadal said he was lucky not to play the third set against Jannik Sinner

The nine-time Rome champion, who is defending his 2020 title this year, voiced his regret over holding the press conference sooner than expected, claiming that he might have to kit up to play at 1 pm (local time) on Thursday.

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“Unfortunately, we have to do the press conference faster than normal because they put me in third shift and that means I might play a 1. Everything is quite fair,” Nadal said.

(Quotes have been translated)

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 14, 2021 Spain’s Rafael Nadal in action during his second round match against Argentina’s Federico Delbonis REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

The 13-time French Open champion, who was broken early on Wednesday and had to dig deep to put it past the rising Italian star, hinted that the poor scheduling leaves him short of adequate recovery time between matches.

He said that he was glad that the match didn’t go the full distance as then it would have left him with even less time ahead of his next against Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

“Sometimes things work like this here and I’m not happy with (it). It is 10 pm and we are here and I have been lucky not to go to the third set. If I play the third set, I have to be ready at 11.30 in case something happens and it seems somewhat exaggerated,” the current World No. 3 said.

Nadal said that more thought needs to go into scheduling matches

Having a go at the director of the tournament, who he said made the scheduling along with “someone from (the) ATP,” Nadal said that he clearly got things “wrong”.

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While adding that he doesn’t feel the physical effect of the scheduling as yet, better wisdom and more thought need to go into this critical aspect of holding a tournament such as this.

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“I do not feel harmed, but the one who has made the schedule, who is usually the director of the tournament with someone from (the) ATP, is wrong. I just say things as I think they are,” the ‘King of Clay’ said.

In perhaps what led him to hit out publicly over the scheduling, Nadal had picked up a time violation warning from the chair umpire after he ran down the seconds within which to hit a serve.

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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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