We’re barely days into the 2015 French Open, but there have already been a number of controversies aside from the actual tennis. Rafael Nadal is the latest to make headlines in Paris.
So far, Roger Federer has given tournament directors a rocket after his first round victory was marred by a serious security breach in which a long fan was allowed on-court to seek a selfie with the 17-time Grand Slam champion.
Prior to that, Federer’s Swiss compatriot, Stan Wawrinka, was demanding for the author on the tournament’s official website to be sacked after a first-round preview for his match was filled with talk about his rumoured off-field personal issues.
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Nadal is the latest high-profile player to get short with the powers that be; the Spaniard has requested that chair umpire Carlos Bernardes be banned from officiating any of his matches at Rolland Garros after a previous disagreement at a tournament in Brazil earlier this year.
The pair argued after Nadal requested time in the locker-room to change his shorts after putting them on wrong, Bernardes took exception and dictated that the former world no.1 would receive a time warning – a move that the player deemed to be “not enough respectful.”
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Nadal may be trying to focus on fixing his own form at this tournament as he bids to win a tenth French Open, but now he must cope with his rival’s displeasure after Federer and Novak Djokovic spoke out against the 14-time Grand Slam champion.
The world no.1, Djokovic, who is looking to finally complete his Career Slam after a stellar run of form in the build-up to the clay event, does not think that his biggest on-court nemesis should be in a position to hand pick who umpires his matches.
“There are some chair umpires in some matches that I remember that I wasn’t very happy with how they did their job,” the 27-year-old said after a comfortable straight sets win in round-one over Finnish player Jarkko Nieminen.
“But I never thought of requesting a chair umpire not to be a chair umpire in my matches. I don’t think that’s fair. I don't think that's fair to them. You know, they do their job as best as they can. Of course, sometimes they do it better or worse."
Federer also refuted the suggestion that top stars like himself, Nadal and Djokovic should be given any special treatment when on-court.
"I do not want to be treated differently," said the Swiss legend.
"If you get angry or you break a racquet, you don't want to get a warning right away.
"If the umpire does, then all players should be treated equally. Things have to be clear. I hope there are no bonuses.”
The comments from all three parties certainly add extra spice to a tournament that wasn’t even in need of any added drama. Thus far all three have come through their first-round encounters but things will certainly hot up as the days tick-over.
Many a neutral would like to see Nadal and Djokovic face-off in a huge Paris final, but they will not be given the opportunity to do so after the Spaniard’s lowly and surprising seeding means that they are set for a quarter-final collision course.
The likes of Federer and Andy Murray will be waiting in the shadows to pick up the pieces and sneak-in as surprising winners.
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