VIDEO: Rafael Nadal calmly responds to Denis Shapovalov special treatment accusations

Canadian Denis Shapovalov complained during and after the quarterfinal match that Rafael Nadal was being allowed more time between points than permitted.

Our champ rejected Shapovalov’s accusations of favoritism and said it was standard practice to take a bit more time to change clothes and equipment after a set played in such steamy conditions.

I really believe that it’s always in the mind that the top players get bigger advantages and, honestly, on court it’s not true.

That’s my feeling. I never feel that I had advantages on court, and I really believe that he’s wrong in that case. In the last couple of years we have a clock, we increase the measures to make the things more fair for everyone.

I think he really was wrong. When you lose a match like this, you are frustrated. I have a lot of affection for Denis. I think he’s a good guy with lots of talent, the talent to win multiple Grand Slams. In no way do I want to get in an argument with him. But I think he’s wrong. He’s young and when one is young, one makes mistakes.

Rafa also said that the rules had been tightened in recent seasons to make it harder to show favoritism to the elite or any player because of the advent of electronic line-calling, shot clocks between points and, this season, stricter time limits on toilet breaks.

Sources: New York Times, Eurosport, WWOS


  1. David Holtzman…according to French Eurosport, Carlos Moyá was interviewed by Spanish radio station COPE. Apparently Rafa suffered a heat stroke and severe dehydration. Carlos said he couldn’t figure out what was going on with Rafa after he won the second set…his foot? Or something else? Carlos feels the extra day of rest is key [for Rafa to recuperate].

  2. Rafa has always been a gentleman in and off the Court, a role model by being a campion and having a humble heart! All these years, having important rivalries with Roger and Djokovic a NEVER being diariapectful!! At the contrary, every time having loss a game, being grateful, congratulating the opponent, and coming back to the court with new energy and best competitive spirit!! Enhorabuena!! Congratulation!! Vamos Rafa!!!
    Denis absolute should apologize to both Rafa and to Carlos, an excellent professional!
    And, Denis have a path to walk, still.

  3. Hi Pauline!

    Re your at 6:30pm below, you are right. Let’s see…

    If Denis complained less and concentrated more, I really believe he had a good chance of winning that match, but of course I am thrilled Rafa survived.

    • Hello there Mimi,

      I’m also thrilled for Rafa’s win and hope he recovers well from what coach Moya said was a heat stroke.

      Denis shoots from the lip a bit too much. I mean he even complained to the umpire at Mubdala-an exhibition for goodness sake!

      I am up in the middle of the night to watch Felix. Realistically not expecting him to win but at least I know he will behave like a gentleman. Allez Félix and best of luck to Rafa against Mateo.

      • Pauline, Felix was so close.😭
        Good luck to him the rest of the season.🍀❤️

      • Denis needs a little coaching from Uncle Toni! Remember he nailed a chair umpire right in the eye ( yes it was an accident but he was angry & didn’t think before he blistered the ball)~ he smashes his racquets ~ he mouths off to the umpires ~ Geez he’s turning out to be a spoiled brat~ uncle Toni would have none of his antics & quickly correct his bad behavior!

  4. I’m a Canadian so I’m a fan of both Denis and Felix – although I always cheer for Rafa first (even if they are playing against him – ha!). I was disappointed with Denis behaviour during the match – it was immature and uncalled for. Denis has a lot of talent, but he needs to work on controlling his emotions and being more professional on the court. Calling the official corrupt is unacceptable and I hope he gets fined for that. And the silly comments afterwards about Rafa getting special treatment – ridiculous. Call a spade a spade, Rafa beat you fair and square, rather than criticize him, maybe you should look at the way he was able to play despite feeling unwell and model your own behaviour more closely on him!

  5. Your heart and wisdom came through a very tough test. Raise the sail, feel the wind and take it to the finish. Two merciful days to recover and get the body ready. Take the helm with strength!!!! Sail on…..vamos!!!

  6. CONGRATULATIONS to Rafa on another win and into the semifinals. BEST OF LUCK RAFA

    If anything, we all know that Rafa and umpire Bernardes have had their share of differences between them.

    My opinion is that Shapo was simply frustrated and decided to fire himself up by accusing the umpire of favoritism. Rafa, as observant as ever, assessed what Shapo was up to and responded with aplomb. Hopefully the youngster will have learned a lesson from his outbursts.

    • I agree. Favoritism from umpire Bernardo??? I remember he wouldn’t even allow Rafa to change his short one time. Rafa put it on the wrong way. He had to change it on court with a towel around him.

      • Denis should do the right thing and issue a formal apology to Mr. Bernardes and all chair umpires for insulting their integrity. He went too far in his criticism.

      • Mimi, when I saw that Bernardes was the umpire for Rafa’s match, I was like “OMG, NOOOooo.” My fears were unwarranted.

        Bernardes had a heart attack last year [1/20/21] while in hard quarantine at the AO because he had been in contact with someone who was infected. I think after that experience he may be taking a laidback approach to umpiring.

        I can imagine Rafa telling him he is glad he pulled through such a serious medical crisis.

        I loved the response Bernardes gave to Shapo about him not being ready for Rafa because he’s busy at Bernardes’s chair complaining about Rafa. Hilarious.

    • I do hope so Margo. I have always liked Shapo. He is exciting to watch on court and appears to be rather fun off court too but I was very disappointed in his conduct today. He may be young but he is not a child. He has been on the Senior Tour for a number of years now and should know better. I totally agree with Pauline. He needs to issue a FULL, formal apology to Mr. Bernardes. I also think he owes Rafa an apology too. To accuse the Umpire of being “corrupt” not only slanders the Umpire but also slanders Rafa because it implies that the Umpire is taking bribes from Rafa to allow him more time between points than he is entitled to under the rules. That is an outrageous statement to make. What is worse is that even after he had had time to recover himself after the match, he went on to say in the Press Conference that Rafa gets special treatment on court,“100%”. What a loser! He should be fined by the Australian Open and/or the ATP and made to publicly withdraw those statement and apologise to both men. Rafa, as always, handled the whole debacle with class. Shapo has definitely gone down in my estimation after this.

    • Boohoo Denis! Sounds as though Denis had a little case of sour grapes! Too bad ~ He needs to follow Rafa’s example & lose with dignity. As all of you have stated Rafa & umpire Banardes have had thier issues ~ Didnt Rafa ban him for awhile from his matches? All & All Denis should have won that match & this just makes him look like a big cry baby!

      • I do disagree about “Denis should have won.” Rafa won points when it counted. Both players made mistakes and I will not bring in Rafa’s foot problem or his stomach issue. If he’s not healthy I feel he shouldn’t be playing. Hopefully he will be feeling fit for his semifinal for a chance at the final.

        I have been down this road with Rafa before when he has played knowing full well he was injured. It’s not about quitting; it’s about staying healthy to fight another day.

        I hope his days off will give him time to get back to business. I don’t want to go on Twitter and see that he’s not resting. 🤯


      • Hello Margo~ Honestly I really think it was the heat that made Rafa sick. I worry too that we could turn on the TV or internet & he see him pulling out with some stomach injury ~ I so want Rafa to win this just to show he’s not ready for the pasture .Wonder what Denis is trying to accomplish ~ Rafa has won the Stanfan Edberg Sportmaship award like five times ~ and there should be a special award for Rafa never smashing not even one racket! Rafa is quilty of being a bit slow but dang he’s not a Criminal & Denis should apologize for being a Twit!

      • No Ziggy, I doubt very much that Rafa is ready for the pastures. Put your “think positive” hat on. LOL

        Unfortunately, any injuries at this point in time of his career takes precious time away from him being able to compete. I agree that it could have been a case of jitters combined with the awful heat. Keeping my fingers crossed that he will be ready for his semifinal.

    • Just because he lost he had to complain.if he won the match he wouldn’t have said anything. Boy needs to grow up.

  7. Learning to accept losses on court and in post game pressers is a huge curve. This sport makes you
    own it-in the end, you clarify the win or loss. No speculations or innuendos by others. As Rafa has stated after a loss-the better player in this match won today.

  8. Shapo was wounded emotionally, but he’ll get over it. Who wants to play in soaking wet clothes?

    Calm Rafa spoke like the wise father or big brother in his response.

  9. Just the frustrations…

    Meanwhile, Berrettini v Monfils match is following the same script as the Rafa match earlier… Berrettini lost a 2 sets to love lead and now is 3-0 up in the fifth:)

  10. What a twit, such bad behaviour and accusations. Time to grow up Denis and learn from Rafa. You have a facade of sportsmanship but that’s all it is. Scratch the surface and a petulant boy appears.
    Congratulations to Rafa who once more demonstrated his courage and focus despite being ill. Such a wonderful role model.🇪🇸⭐️👏👏

    • 🤣😂! I agree with you Elizabeth Howard~ Denis is acting like a Twit! He was just trying to find someone to blame for losing when he knows that he blew the match all on his own!

  11. Congrats, Rafa! Off to the semi-finals. From that epic tie-break against Mannorino in round 4 and now this nail-biting 5-set thriller in the qtrs. Wow!!! So glad you will have 2 days off to recover! And then the fun and excitement begins again. I’m loving this happy slam once again! Thank you, Rafa!

      • Tennis Channel was kind enough to replay the Fifth set. I sure hope Rafa is OK and doesn’t have a strained muscle. I was nervous watching the replay even though I knew the final result. Rafa touched his heart during the on court interview when describing his medical time out so I figured out that when Rafa said they checked his “tension” he means his blood pressure.

        As uncomfortable as he was at the end Rafa really is showing a strong first serve. I think its better than at any time in 2021. Perhaps the double faults are the price to be paid for the stronger serve.

        I await any news on how Rafa is feeling over the next 24 hours. Go Rafa!

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