Earlier this year, tennis legend John McEnroe chastised umpires for failing to punish Nadal at the French Open, claiming officials should hold the Spaniard accountable for shot clock violations.
McEnroe suggested that umpires take a harder stance and penalize Nadal if he repeatedly exceeds the 25-second shot clock.
The rule was implemented to shorten the time between points and to provide players with a clear indication of when they are expected to serve.
Tennis greats like Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic used to take their time between serves before the clock was introduced.
However, Nadal would not have expected to be questioned about the ruling after a grueling first-round win over Australian Rinky Hijikata at the US Open.
A reporter dragged McEnroe into the fray and questioned whether Nadal believes the criticism will have an impact on his tennis legacy.
“It seems like there are different rules for Rafael Nadal than there are for everybody else?” the reporter asked.
— Jill Martin (@ByJillMartin) August 31, 2022
Nadal entertained the question and was more than willing to shut down the accusation.
“Yeah, I think it’s a joke,” Nadal said with a laugh.
“I went through a lot of warnings through my tennis career. Never for breaking a racquet. Never for doing a mess on the court. But yes for the time clock.
“I have a problem that I am sweating a lot. When you are playing during these very humid conditions…the problem for players like me that are sweating that much, you know when you go to pick up a towel, you are going to be in trouble with the time.
“I don’t think I have different treatment from the umpires.”
The mediator stepped in after a reporter asked if Nadal should have a different rule because he sweats a lot.
— Inés S. (@gandaines) August 31, 2022
However, Nadal was more than happy to respond and clarified that he would speak to McEnroe about the criticism.
“I never said that,” Nadal added.
“I don’t think I’m receiving different treatment at all. I don’t understand why John can say that on TV.
“But I am going to have a chat with him later,” Nadal added with a smile.