Roger Federer railed against Rafael Nadal’s loud grunting and slow play Friday night after he tumbled out of the Australian Open at the hands of the aggressive Spaniard.
The usually ice-cool Swiss had sharp words with the umpire mid-match about the Spaniard’s ball-striking grunt, and complained he repeatedly goes unpunished for time violations.
Federer’s polished demeanour slipped after he crashed to a seventh consecutive Grand Slam defeat to his rival and in straight sets, in an anti-climactic semi-final in Melbourne.
Federer admitted he found Nadal’s grunt distracting because the Spaniard was making a noise during some points, but not others. Nadal won 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 6-3 for his 23rd win over Federer.
“It goes in phases. One point he does and he doesn’t. That’s just what I was complaining about,” Federer said.
“(But it) Had no impact on the outcome of the match.”
He added that fidgety Nadal, who is notoriously slow to serve, should have racked up several time violations during their 33-match rivalry — but instead, he has only received two.
“Rafa is doing a much better job today than he used to. I mean, I’m not complaining much about the time.
“He’s gotten two point penalties over the course of our rivalry.
“I’m not complaining about so many things. But, I mean, either you have rules or you don’t.”
Nadal looked surprised when told about Federer’s exchange with the umpire, and said nobody had complained about his grunting before.
“When I am playing, when I am hitting the ball during the point, the last thing that I am thinking is trying to bother the opponent,” he said.
“I am sorry if I bothered somebody, but I never did in the past. So is something that nobody in my career, you know, told me nothing about this, that I am bothering the opponent.”