"Same thing happened with Rafael Nadal!" - Andrey Rublev gets into heated argument with chair umpire, booed after disputed line call at Madrid Open

Andrey Rublev (L) and Rafael Nadal (R)
Andrey Rublev (L) and Rafael Nadal (R)

Even on his day off, Rafael Nadal's presence was felt at the 2024 Madrid Open as Andrey Rublev invoked the Spaniard's name to dispute a line call in his third-round clash.

Rublev took on Alejandro Davidovich Fokina for a place in the Round of 16 on Sunday, and the duo started the opening set evenly matched. At 4-3* (30-30), with Davidovich Fokina serving to keep pace with the Russian, one of the Spaniard's shots was called out by the linesperson.

The local lad immediately challenged the call, following which there was a small confusion with the decision. As it turns out, it was not an out-call but an in-call, and with Rublev's return shot going out, the chair umpire awarded the point to Davidovich Fokina.

Stunned, Rublev challenged the call, but the chair umpire argued that it was too late to challenge. Meanwhile, Rublev was also of the opinion that the linesperson's call came before his return, meaning he should be allowed to replay the point instead of it going to his opponent.

WIth the umpire persisting in his decision, Andrey Rublev pointed out that the same thing had happened to Nadal in his second-round clash against De Minaur on Saturday.

The Mallorcan, in quite similar fashion, wanted to challenge a call made on De Minaur's shot, but was told by the chair umpire that too much time had elapsed and that he could not make a challenge anymore.

Nadal proceeded to demand intervention from the tournament referee, who also appeared on-court soon after to have a word with the 22-time Grand Slam champion. Regardless, the final decision was unchanged despite the 37-year-old's heated argument.

Rublev, having seen that incident and now caught in the middle of a similar situation himself, went on to protest with the chair umpire further, lamenting that it would be better to have Electronic Line Calling instead of human referees in the future.

"It's the same thing that happened with Rafa yesterday! Exactly the same! [From now on I think] we need only machine on court instead of referees. I know I bring the ball out, but he call before I shoot," Rublev said.

The chair umpire, it should be noted, did not see it the same way Andrey Rublev did, and told the Russian that as far as he was concerned, his shot came only after the line call. Therefore, he felt it was right to give Davidovich Fokina the point instead of having it replayed to begin with.

"For me, the call came after you hit the ball. I had to judge," the umpire said.

Meanwhile, the Madrid Open crowd sided with their own, whistling and booing Rublev while he carried on his tirade on the sidelines. Ultimately, just as it happened with Nadal, the final call remained unchanged.

Rublev went on to win the set in a tiebreaker, and then took the second set to reach the Round of 16 with a solid 7-6(10), 6-4 win.

Andrey Rublev to take on Tallon Griekspoor next, Rafael Nadal set for Pedro Cachin showdown at Madrid Open

Mutua Madrid Open - Day Five
Mutua Madrid Open - Day Five

Following his win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Andrey Rublev will next take on Tallon Griekspoor in the fourth round of the 2024 Madrid Open.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal is set to face off against Pedro Cachin in the third round of the Masters 1000 event -- their first meeting on the ATP Tour. Placed on opposite halves of the draw, Nadal and Rublev can only meet in the final at Madrid this year.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

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