LONDON — Stanislas Wawrinka was unhappy that the chair umpire didn’t intervene to stop Rafael Nadal from receiving coaching at the ATP World Tour Finals on Wednesday.
Wawrinka voiced his displeasure after a 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6) loss to Nadal, who is coached by his uncle, Toni Nadal.
“It’s nothing personal against Rafa or against Toni,” Wawrinka said. “We all know, players and umpires, that Toni is always trying to help Rafa. That’s normal. That’s part of the game. But when it’s too much, it’s too much.
“Today I didn’t agree with the umpire that he didn’t tell him something or he didn’t give him a second warning just because it was Rafa. We all see it. I was there. Before every point, he was trying to coach him.”
The ATP Tour rulebook states that “players shall not receive coaching during a tournament match. Communications of any kind, audible or visible, between a player and a coach may be construed as coaching.” Players receive a warning for a first offense, a point penalty for a second offense and a game penalty for a third and each subsequent offense. The rule is rarely enforced, though.
Toni Nadal has acknowledged talking to his nephew during matches, a practice that has irked Roger Federer, drawn a fine at Wimbledon and sparked plenty of discussion in the media. Toni denies that he communicates tactics, as The New York Times reported in 2010:
Toni Nadal does not deny that he offers advice from the box. He says the rules against coaching from the box are antiquated and need to be changed. “I think all the sports make an evolution,” he said. “It’s not natural that you pay a coach and this coach travels to Australia and to New York to watch his player and he can’t say nothing.”
He said he was trying to curb his tongue — against his instincts — lest he become a distraction to Nadal.
“I say not too much,” he said with a smile. “Always I say things like ‘Come on’ or ‘Move your legs.’ I am not saying tactics. I don’t know how to win a match.”
With Wednesday’s victory, Nadal advanced to the semifinals and clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking for the third time.