It was a classic Rafael Nadal performance in more ways than one for John McEnroe.
The tennis legend has spoken out on Nadal taking his time to serve in Tuesday’s quarter-finals of the 2022 French Open, which saw Nadal beat Novak Djokovic in a four-set thriller, 6-2, 4- 6, 6-2, 7-6.
McEnroe, who has previously complained about Nadal’s timing, suggested during his commentary on Eurosport that the Spaniard ‘should be penalized’ for breaching the shot clock.
“If you’re going to do it, do it, otherwise don’t bother. It’s like making everyone happy,” said a frustrated McEnroe. “That’s a joke! He’s looking at the clock again…one. He’s on the edge, isn’t he? Shouldn’t they have him at 15 seconds on the second serve? ten? Something ?
“Or don’t bother. It’s like you can take as long as you want on the second serve. How long is this game? 12 mins? Shit.
Nadal eventually received a time violation in the second set but didn’t appear to recognize the penalty or the referee.
Nadal is known for his quiet on-court routine between serves, which has led to a number of time violations for skipping the 25-second countdown.
The 35-year-old’s routine usually involves tucking his hair behind his ear, tugging his nose and adjusting his shorts before bouncing the ball up the field several times.
“Rafa has his ritual that takes 30 seconds every time he plays a point,” McEnroe said of Nadal last month in an interview with Insider. “If you’re that good, you can get away with it.
“That’s one of the incentives to be the best – you get away with more, as evidenced by what I’ve done sometimes on the pitch and what he does, in a totally classier way, though. Obviously he’s not out there yelling at people or anything.
Nadal edged Djokovic early Wednesday at Court Philippe-Chatrier in their 59th meeting.
He will now face No. 3 seed Alexander Zverev in the French Open semi-final on Friday.