John McEnroe has ripped into Rafa Nadal during his French Open clash with Novak Djokovic after the Spanish champion once again fell foul of tennis’ shot clock rules.
Nadal took down his long-time rival to advance to the semi-finals, prevailing 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6 (4) to advance to the semi-finals.
But Nadal received a time violation while serving during the second set of the quarter-final clash at Roland Garros on Tuesday.
The 13-time French Open champion is one of the slowest players between points and often runs into trouble with the shot clock.
And it was no different on Tuesday as the chair umpire cracked down on Nadal’s slow play and hit him with a time violation.
However McEnroe was left fuming in a commentary for Eurosport when the shot clock hit zero on a number of other occasions but Nadal wasn’t pinged.
The American legend said there’s no point having the shot clock if it isn’t going to be enforced properly.
“He should be penalised,” McEnroe said.
“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.”
When Nadal finally received the time violation from the umpire he didn’t even react, instead remaining focused.
“Now the umpire says it. Nadal ignores him,” McEnroe said.
The chair umpire may have been giving the players some leeway after a number of long and draining rallies early in the match.
The second set went for well over an hour as Djokovic levelled the match at one-set apiece.
Novak Djokovic booed in ugly scenes at French Open
McEnroe also took aim at the French Open crowd before the match started after Djokovic was loudly booed as he made his way onto the court.
Spectators on Court Philippe-Chatrier loudly booed Djokovic while cheering for Nadal.
Djokovic has never experienced much crowd support at Roland Garros and was never going to have the crowd on his side against the 13-time champion on Tuesday.
But McEnroe was still unimpressed by the treatment he received.
“No other player has had to deal with more adversity,” McEnroe said on Eurosport.
“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.”
Speaking earlier in the week, McEnroe said the booing would only fire Djokovic up and give him extra motivation.
“He does it better than anyone I’ve ever seen,” he said.
“I didn’t do it as well. I felt like it affected me more than it helped me.
“I think there were times where it fuelled me, but he has done it consistently. He’s a remarkable player and person.”