January 25, 2022
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Denis Shapovalov said his Australian Open quarter-final opponent Rafa Nadal “100%” receives preferential treatment from officials and benefited from favouritism during the Spaniard’s five-set victory on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old Shapovalov, making his first appearance in the last eight in Melbourne, rallied from two sets down to level against Nadal before the Spaniard prevailed in the deciding set to win 6-3 6-4 4-6 3-6 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena.
During the match, Shapovalov directed his frustration at chair umpire Carlos Bernardes for not handing Nadal a court violation for taking too much time between points. “Are you kidding me? You guys are all corrupt,” he fumed.
“I misspoke when I said he’s corrupt or whatever I said,” Shapovalov clarified after the match. “It’s definitely emotional but I do stand by my side. I think it’s unfair, you know, how much Rafa is getting away with.
“… There’s got to be some boundaries, some rules set. It’s just so frustrating as a player. You know, you feel like you’re not just playing against the player. You’re playing against the umpires, you’re playing against so much more.
“I’m not trying to take away anything they’ve done, of course, they’re great champions, they’re the legends of the game. But at the end of the day, when you step on the court it should be equal for everyone.”
Nadal, who stayed on course for a record 21st Grand Slam, refuted Shapovalov’s claims and said he never felt he had an advantage on court.
“It’s always in the mind that the top players get bigger advantages,” said Nadal, “and honestly on court (it) is not true… I never feel that I had advantages on court, and I really believe that he’s wrong in that case.
“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.
“I think he played a great match for a long time. I wish him all the very best… I make a lot of mistakes too when I was younger, and probably he will understand later on after he thinks the proper way that probably he was not right today.”
(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)