Sport Tennis Australian Open ‘I flicked him the bird’: Nadal beats Mmoh – and heckler – at Australian Open

‘I flicked him the bird’: Nadal beats Mmoh – and heckler – at Australian Open

rafael nadal aust heckler
Rafael Nadal had no trouble focusing on his way to beating Michael Mmoh, even despite the heckler in the crowd. Photo: Getty
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A female spectator ejected for heckling Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open has doubled down on her criticisms of the Spanish ace.

The world No.2 was on Rod Laver Arena for less than two hours on Thursday night as he took down American qualifier Michael Mmoh 6-1 6-4 6-2.

But not before the match was briefly stopped late in the second set as the woman started shouting at Nadal for no apparent reason.

The spectator yelled obscenities and raised her finger at him, as the Spaniard simply smiled and watched as security escorted her out of Melbourne Park.

Speaking to 3AW on Friday, the woman was defiant, as she attempted to justify her actions.

“He’s boring… The fact pictures of me have gone viral show how boring he is,” she said.

“I just called out, “get over your OCD rituals” and that’s when I flicked him the bird.”

But not everybody was amused by her actions.

“My daughter wasn’t too happy,” she admitted.

She said that went asked to leave, she asked “why aren’t I allowed to be vocal?”

She went on to claim that security “were quite rude.”

When asked on-court post-match if he knew the woman, Nadal said: “No, and honestly, I don’t want to know.”

The 34-year-old was equally as perplexed when fronting his media conference less than an hour later.

“Maybe she had too much gin or tequila. I don’t know,” Nadal said.

“Honestly it was strange situation, but funny at the same time.

“I was surprised, yes, but at the same time was thinking, ‘Poor girl’, because probably she was drunk or something like this.”

The unusual incident livened up an otherwise routine match for the 2009 Open champion.

Despite entering the first grand slam of the year with concerns about a back injury, Nadal is yet to drop a set in his opening two matches.

In positive news for a deep run through the tournament, the 20-time major winner has been on court for a total time of under four hours.

Nadal produced some spectacular backhand shots against Mmoh to give old foes such as Novak Djokovic plenty to think about.

“I have been improving my backhand doing all my career,” Nadal said.

“When I was younger, I was able to run everywhere; now I need to have better shots on the backhand.”

rafael nadal heckler aust
The spectator is escorted out of the arena after heckling Nadal. Photo: AAP

Nadal admits his back spasms are not fully under control but continues to do everything he can to recover.

“If you see my motion on the serve it is different than what I would like,” he said.

“I just keep fighting for a solution.

“The preparation the last 15 days have not been the ideal one, but here I am. I won two matches in straight sets.”

He will meet Briton Cameron Norrie in the third round after the world No.68 defeated Russia’s Roman Safiullin in four sets.

-with AAP