Rafael Nadal's recent comments about Novak Djokovic's emotional outbursts at the Tokyo Olympics raised a few eyebrows in the tennis community. And now Paul McNamee, coach of WTA player Hsieh Su-Wei, has revealed he was surprised to see Nadal speak so openly about a fellow player's "missteps."
Djokovic arrived in Tokyo hoping to move one step closer to achieving the Calendar Golden Slam (winning all four Majors and the Olympic singles gold in the same year.) The Serb was on an 18-match winning streak and came into the tournament as the overwhelming favorite for the gold medal.
However, the World No. 1 was defeated by eventual champion Alexander Zverev in the semifinals. He then missed out on the bronze medal after losing to Pablo Carreno Busta. During the match against the Spaniard, Djokovic smashed his racket several times and at one point even flung it into the empty stands much to everyone's astonishment.
During his pre-tournament press conference in Washington, Rafael Nadal was asked about Djokovic's outburts. The Spaniard claimed it was "strange" to see someone as successful as the Serb react in such a manner. He also said that Djokovic's actions can have a negative impact on impressionable minds.
Former Australian tennis player Paul McNamee has now weighed in on the matter. According to McNamee, players tend to refrain from commenting on their rivals and thus it was "puzzling" to see Nadal offer his opinion on Djokovic.
"I'm surprised Rafa actually bothered to respond, and comment, on a peer’s missteps," he said on Twitter. "That’s generally ‘not the code’ amongst athletes, who all know your own fall may only be a moment away. I greatly admire Rafa, so it puzzles me."
"Highly unusual, and raised my eyebrows, for one great to give free advice to a fellow great. It creates news copy but not ideal," he added.
Rafael Nadal crashes out of Citi Open in third round
Rafael Nadal returned to action after nearly two months at the Citi Open in Washington this week. The Spaniard was rusty and struggled with a foot injury during his campaign in the American capital, which ended with a third-round defeat by Lloyd Harris on Thursday.
Nadal now has a crucial month and a half coming up in America, with the Spaniard set to compete at the Rogers Cup and the US Open.
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At Flushing Meadows, Nadal will go head-to-head with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer in the race to become the sole Grand Slam record holder. Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic are currently tied at the top of the Slam leaderboard having won 20 Majors apiece.