Nadal Clashes With Umpire After Being Denied Challenge On Crucial Point

Nadal Clashes With Umpire After Being Denied Challenge On Crucial Point

by Erik Virostko

Rafael Nadal is taking on Alex de Minaur for the second time in two weeks, but this time, his match at the 2024 Madrid Open started well.

The Spaniard lost to de Minaur last week in Barcelona, but this time around, the 22-time major champion started much better. He won his opening service game to 15, and broke the Australian in the second game to 30.

As a result, he was serving at 2-0 to confirm the break, but the game didn't start well for the 37-year-old. Nadal was down 15-30, when the controversial point was played. De Minaur played a ball that landed close to the baseline, and the Spanish player immediately stopped playing and looked down to see if the ball was out, as it was called 'in'.

It seemed that he did stop playing, but as his opponent was preparing to hit the next shot, Nadal split stepped again, before de Minaur played a drop shot, which was out of his reach.

That was when the 14-time French Open champion return to the ball mark, showing the umpire, Fergus Murphy, where the ball landed. However, to Nadal's surprise, the umpire called '15-40', denying the Spaniard's challenge.

Nadal was surprised by the decision, and he immediately walked towards the umpire, saying that he stopped playing and wanted the ball reviewed, but Murphy simply didn't agree.

While the Spaniard argued that he stopped, the umpire claimed that he didn't call for the challenge, and that's why he couldn't grant it.

It was a controversial moment, and one that once again brings out the question about challenging calls. While it could be argued that after stopping the play, Nadal showed intention to play again, there's also another perspective.

Daniil Medvedev claimed last month that players should be able to come back and challenge a ball even 10 shots before. While that's not allowed at the moment and likely won't be in the near future or ever, it brings out the question of whether that wouldn't be the fairest approach, as regardless of whether Nadal challenged in time or not, the replay showed that de Minaur's ball was indeed out, and in an attempt to have the fairest tennis match possible, the Australian simply shouldn't have won the point.


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