After complaining to the chair umpire about Rafael Nadal’s grunting during his three-set loss to the Spaniard at the Australian Open, Roger Federer said he doesn't find it distracting when Rafa does it every point but instead when ‘it goes in phases. One point he does and he doesn't. That's just what I was complaining about. Had no impact on the outcome of the match, but the level was the same.”
Nadal said he was unaware that Federer complained about his grunting and was not trying to distract the Swiss.
“When I am playing, when I am hitting the ball during the point, the last thing that I am thinking is try to bother the opponent,” Nadal said. “Only thing that I am focusing is try to hit my ball well.
“I am sorry if I bothered somebody, but I never did in the past. So is something that nobody in my career, told me nothing about this, that I am bothering the opponent. But if I bothered him in any moment, he knows 100 percent it was not because I wanted. I never do nothing on court to bother the opponent. I think I did the normal things that I do in every match.”
Federer added that Nadal improved during the match when it came to taking too much time in between points, although he did appear to talk to chair umpire Jake Garner about that as well. The Grand Slams have a 20-second time rule, while the ATP has a 25-second rule. Nadal has been criticized by other players and some analysts for frequently violating the rule.
“Rafa is doing a much better job today than he used to,” Federer said. “I'm not complaining much about the time. But I think I've played him, what, three times. He's gotten two point penalties over the course of our rivalry. I just think that's not quite happening. I mean, we know how much time he used to take. I'm not complaining about so many things. But either you have rules or you don't. If you don't have rules, it's fine. Everybody can do whatever they want to do.
“I just think it's important to enforce the rules on many levels, whatever it may be. On all the players the same way. Don't give me or Djokovic a free pass just because of who we are. I think we should all be judged the same way. Not just a guy on Court 16 because the guy had a brutal rally, you have to give him a time violation just because you can. On center court, they're always going to be afraid, the umpires, to take those decisions. I just like to challenge them a little bit. I just hope they do their job correctly. If they don't, what are you going to do? Sit and watch. Sometimes you just got to say things. I didn't lose the match because of that. It didn't bother me. I just felt I had to mention something.”