Rafael Nadal's complaint against a chair umpire is prompting discussion about whether players should have a say on who officiates their matches.
Nadal had repeated arguments with chair umpire Carlos Bernardes during his semifinal of the ATP tournament in Rio this February, saying at one point he would demand that he no longer be allowed to work his matches. The disagreements usually involved time violations, a frequent subject during Nadal's matches. The Telegraph, in a story published just before the French Open, noted that Bernardes had not been assigned to any of Nadal’s matches since, with both Nadal and the ATP confirming that the player had made the request.
Nadal had said at Indian Wells that time violations should not have been strictly enforced because of the humidity during the match, which went on beyond 3 a.m. Following his first-round match at the French Open, Nadal added that he was particularly displeased after being informed that he would receive a time warning for going off court to put his clothes on the right way—his shorts were on backwards—when he returned from the break.
Asked about the issue again after his second-round match, Nadal indicated that his request was not a big issue.
“The thing is easy. I asked to [not] be umpired for some umpires in my career few times,” he said. “Is not the first time that I did. And after a few tournaments he was on the chair umpire again with me. I never had any problem no one.
Nadal was critical of the subject being raised again, saying, “You can talk about all the people who work on the ATP, all the umpires, everybody if I really had some problem during the 13 years, or 13 or 19 years that I gonna have my career, if I never had one serious problem with nobody, if I was not respectful with anyone, and then you come to Mallorca and you ask to me.”