Andy Murray is no stranger to a bit of controversy and he should, therefore, be in his element at the French Open which has already generated some talking points. Unsurprisingly, the British no.1 has had his say on one particular issue which has made headlines.
While Roger Federer was left fuming earlier this week when a child was able to walk on-court unopposed by security to seek a selfie, and his compatriot Stan Wawrinka was similarly displeased that the official website of the tournament published a story about his personal life, Rafael Nadal also drew criticism after making a bizarre umpiring request.
The Spaniard had taken an issue with a decision by Brazilian umpire Carlos Bernades in tournament earlier this year over a time violation and had requested that he not be able to officiate any of his matches at the French Open.
Nadal’s rivals, namely Federer again as well as world no.1 and tournament favourite Novak Djokovic, aired their belief that the 14-time Grand Slam champion should not be able to make such a request, and Murray has hinted at sharing their thoughts after an issue arose in his own second-round win over Joao Sousa.
The Briton received two court violations in the four-set win for taking too long between points – a third could have resulted in a points reduction – despite seeing other players, Nadal included, for going unpunished for similar time lapses. Players at Grand Slams are allowed 20 seconds for each point.
Despite the sanction, Murray told reporters that he wasn’t unhappy with the decision and had a pop at Nadal in the process.
“I wasn't annoyed with the time thing at all,” said the 28-year-old. “I made no issue of it on the court. I didn't say anything to the umpire - I wasn't disputing that maybe I played too slow. The umpire's job is to make the players play at the right speed.
“I haven't requested to not have an umpire. All I know is it was just from the players' perspective that the umpires are doing their job by enforcing the rules.
“Sometimes the players don't know and sometimes you can be up at the line ready to serve, and a photographer in the front row gets up and moves or the Spidercam moves across the court or something and it stops you for three seconds and you're over the time and you get a warning.
“Sometimes it's tricky, but I think most of the umpires have a pretty good understanding on the court. I know Rafa has had a few issues with Carlos, but for the most part, I think, everyone gets on with it pretty well.”
Murray will be hoping he can remain in the umpire’s good books when he faces a tricky-looking third-round tie against Nick Kyrgios over the weekend.
The Australian youngster has talent in abundance and possess plenty of power to test any player, he showed that at last year’s Wimbledon tournament when he blew Nadal away, however questions remain over temperament and unpredictable nature. Their clash on Saturday morning will arguably be the most mouth-watering so far.
Murray will be hoping his good run of form recently will be enough to see him into round four. He is enjoying unprecedented success on clay this year. Before this season started he had never won a tournament on the surface, but has triumphed in an event in Munich and, more impressively, the Madrid Masters, where he beat Nadal in the final.
Should he come unstuck against Kyrgios, however, it will provide a chance for some early Wimbledon preparation. Murray will be dreaming of a repeat of his 2013 heroics in London.
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