Rafael Nadal's coach hits out at Melbourne Park crowd

Rafael Nadal's coach, Toni Nadal, has criticised the Melbourne crowd for what he felt was a disrespectful reaction to his nephew's medical timeout on Sunday night.

The world No.1 left Rod Laver Arena for six minutes, early in the second set. A physiotherapist was attending to his locked back - a break within the rules. Yet he was booed by many fans when he returned to the court.

This has been a mildly controversial tournament for Nadal, whose intermittent grunting and slow play attracted the criticism of Roger Federer after their semi-final on Friday.

So when he took that extended break during the final, some spectators must have felt that Nadal was engaging in gamesmanship after Stan Wawrinka had dominated the first set. "I don't think the crowd should be doing this," Toni Nadal said. "Rafael has always given his best at this tournament, all tournaments. He knows that people have paid money for tickets to be here for the match, the grand slam final. He does not want them to have, how do I say, the stopped show.

"The crowd did not know what was happening. I see this. But I think if you do not know something for sure, why say anything? Rafael enjoys this tournament, he enjoys this crowd, he loves Rod Laver court. There are good memories here. But I wish people knew what Rafael was trying to do. Sometimes the crowd don't think, maybe."

Nadal himself had made light of the incident. "I can understand very well the reaction," he said. "They understand later that I was bad. I was trying all what I can try."

The Telegraph, London


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