John McEnroe seething over shot-clock drama: ‘Rafael Nadal should be penalised. It’s a joke’
John McEnroe has expressed his outrage after Rafael Nadal went unpunished for apparently exceeding the 25-second time limit between shots, describing it as “a joke”.
Nadal has always been slow in between points and at this year’s Australian Open he was criticised by Denis Shapovalov over his poor time-keeping with the Canadian also lashing out at the officials, saying the Spaniard receives preferential treatment.
“I’ve been ready to play for a minute and a half and he tells me he’s not going to give him a code violation because I’m not ready to play. To me, it’s a big joke,” Shapovalov fumed.
The 21-time Grand Slam winner’s time-keeping was again under the spotlight during his French Open quarter-final match against Novak Djokovic on Tuesday.
Seven-time Grand Slam winner-turned commentator McEnroe was unimpressed.
“He should be penalised,” he said during his Eurosport commentary stint.
“If you are going to do it, do it, otherwise don’t bother. It is like humouring everyone.
“It’s a joke! He takes a look at the clock again… one. He’s edging it, isn’t he? Shouldn’t they have it at 15 seconds on the second serve? 10? Something?
“Or don’t bother. It’s like, you can take as much time as you want on the second serve. How long is this game? 12 minutes? Jeez.”
The American great was also full of praise for Djokovic, who has endured a difficult 2022 as he was unable to defend his Australian Open title due to his unvaccinated status while he also missed several other tournaments.
The world No 1 was once again on the receiving end of boos during the Nadal clash as McEnroe again insisted he deserves more respect.
“No other player has had to deal with more adversity,” he said.
“It is unfair, I’ve got to say that. This guy has turned lemons into lemonade more often than any player in the history of tennis, and if you don’t think it bothers him, you’re nuts.
“He is so mentally tough that he can deal with this and somehow channel that anger and frustration over what he feels is a lack of respect – and I feel it is too.”
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