• Australian Open

Nadal's coach blasts Melbourne crowd over boos

ESPN staff
January 28, 2014
Rafael Nadal received treatment for a back injury during the Australian Open final © AP

Rafael Nadal's uncle and coach, Toni Nadal, has criticised the Rod Laver Arena crowd for what he saw as a disrespectful reaction to his nephew's medical timeout in the Australian Open final.

Nadal, the world No.1, left the court for six minutes early on in the second set of his defeat to Stanislas Wawrinka to receive treatment on his back from a physio. While this is completely within the rules of the game, Nadal was booed for suspected gamesmanship when he returned to the court.

Roger Federer, who was defeated by Nadal in the semi-finals on Friday in Melbourne, also had a dig at Nadal for his grunting and slow play during their match.

"I don't think the crowd should be doing this," Toni Nadal said after the final. "Rafael has always given his best at this tournament, all tournaments.

"He had to continue. He knows that people have paid money for tickets to be here for the match, the grand slam final. He knows a lot of people are seeing the television. 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. They are allowed to be whatever they want, but they should know that Rafael played for them."

Nadal himself played down Sunday's incident. He said: "I can understand very well the reaction. They understand later that I was bad. I was trying all what I can try on the court with that situation."

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