John McEnroe slams ‘dumb journalist’ and backs Rafael Nadal in serve clock row

·3-min read
John McEnroe behind the microphone Credit: PA Images
John McEnroe behind the microphone Credit: PA Images

John McEnroe has made it clear that he doesn’t appreciate being used by journalists trying to make a point in press conference interactions with Rafael Nadal.

While questioning Nadal on serve clock abuses a journalist attending the US Open mentioned John McEnroe taking issue with the rules not being enforced at the French Open.

However, McEnroe said that while it was true that he questioned why the rules weren’t being enforced he didn’t believe it was up to Nadal to make sure the umpire carries out their duties.

Nadal noted the mention of McEnroe’s name joking that he would have a chat with the American.

McEnroe believes that the journalist in question was way out of line to suggest that Nadal has tainted his legacy in any way with the time he takes to serve.

When hearing of the incident McEnroe protested: “Why did they throw me under the bus?

“We haven’t had that talk (with Nadal) but let me just add that… he didn’t let me finish, whoever the dumb journalist was,” McEnroe explained.

“Rafa Nadal is entitled to do whatever the hell he wants, that’s part of why you get as good as [Nadal is], you’ve got to deal with that.

“And it’s not up to him.

“We all know that he’s been doing this for the past 10 to 15 years. There’s nothing new to that. It’s not his call – it’s the umpires.”

McEnroe feels that the serve clock rule is far too vague and if they really wanted to press the issue it would become something that was automatically triggered.

He points out that the rule is never enforced simply because it has never been practical to do so given all the vagueries.

McEnroe believes that the serve clock rule doesn’t truly achieve any purpose in the game and certainly isn’t something that will taint the legacy of one of the all-time great sportsmen in the world, let alone the game of tennis.

He added: “And by the way I think it’s BS anyway, that [rule].

“No one pays attention to that. It should be automatic if you’re actually going to do it, right?

“And when do they turn it on? Is it at the end of the point? Is it when they get to the towel? Is it when the crowd comes down?”

John McEnroe again scoffed at the line of questioning put to Nadal which left the Spaniard bemused and one of the one-time Sperbrat’s trademark ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’ exclamations might have been a most appropriate response.

“This guy… now Nadal thinks I’m saying his legacy’s been stained because he takes too much time,” he added.

Next up for Nadal at the US Open will be a second round clash with Italian Fabio Fognini.

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