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Stanislas Wawrinka complains about Rafael Nadal’s coaching during match

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Stanislas Wawrinka

Stanislas Wawrinka lost to Rafael Nadal at the ATP World Tour Finals. (Glynn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

  • Published On Nov 06, 2013
  • 15 comments
    pat.davis148
    pat.davis148

    I've often felt Nadal takes advantage of both the time warnings and the coaching, but frankly at this point it doesn't really matter, tennis has become boring watching two guys who just pound each other from the baseline ad nauseum.  I was going to actually cancel my Tennis Channel program when Roger retired, but I cancelled it over a month ago.  I just don't find it fun watching prima donnas who bounce balls endlessly, pick their behinds and bend the rules whenever they can. 

    commentator
    commentator

    It's amusing that Nadal the pre-Raphaelite superstitiously avoids stepping on lines of the court when changing sides between games. What does Rafael imagine will happen--that he'll lose the next point if he steps on a line somewhere? Why is it somehow OK for him to step on a service court line when charging the net or on the baseline when moving to hit a ground stroke? Are sidelines somehow more "unlucky" or more of a "jinx"? 

    RD
    RD

    Hey Toni!! It doesn't matter if YOU think that coaching rules are old and need to be changed. Rules are rules for a reason.

    Ace2020
    Ace2020

    Mind games and cheating from Nadal is nothing new. Look up "nadal MTO'S". Shame the ATP let him get away with it.

    dj13e29
    dj13e29

    The chair is responsible for enforcing the rules. All too often, one official decides on his own, not to enforce a rule(s). In the USO and Shanghai finals, I wondered if the USO/ATP had decided to do away with the time violation rule, all because the chair simply ignored it. Rafa was taking anywhere from 35-60 seconds regularly between points. He wasn't ever penalized or warned. This coaching issue has been ongoing but Tony continues to break the rule because there is inconsistent enforcment almost never a tangible penalty. Not everyone will follow the rules (and spirit of) because they care about etiquette and playing the right way.

    shelley
    shelley

    Stan should remember that when he points a finger at someone, there are three of them pointing back at him. On the occasions that the tv cameras panned over to his coaches, I saw them yelling at Stan more than I saw Toni saying anything to Rafa. Stan should worry about his own game. Perhaps he'd win some important matches.

    Elizabeth3
    Elizabeth3

    In Nadal's book he admits that Uncle Toni told him where to serve on match point of the 2010 US Open final. So he has been getting away with cheating for years.

    addisonmango
    addisonmango

    @Ace2020 You are such a bore. Always the same comments. None of them ever based on fact.

    JoseGonzalez
    JoseGonzalez

    @dj13e29 If I remember correctly, the commentators during the US Open (it might've been Cincinnati) were talking about how BOTH Djokovic and Nadal were going over the time limit (on average, at that) between points.  Both guys have been known to take their time over the course of their careers and it's pretty tough to enforce the rules when the top two guys in the game like to take their time before serving (it's not unlike the situation with Azarenka and Sharapova's screeching).  And when there have been warnings against those two, it's almost always been controversial (i.e. the interference by the chair has been said to unfairly influence the outcome of important points; I remember something like this happening to Novak during the Montreal/Cincy/US Open period).  So as a chair, do you pull back a little bit so that the crowd and the players can absorb the gravity of the moment, or do you stick by the book no matter what and risk the ire of the players, the commentators, and even the fans?  I don't blame the chair for deciding oftentimes that letting the players dictate the pace of the match is the best course.  Even the normally stoic Mr. Federer once told the chair that "he didn't give a s***" when the chair was just trying to do his job in the 2009 US Open final.

    jess28
    jess28

    @Elizabeth3 So true...and very recently Toni (I-seem-like-the-mafia) Nadal openly mocked the rules of not coaching during a match - I think I even read it here on SI. 

    Time violations, suspicious toilet breaks when losing or before the opponents' important points, not voicing desire for consistent drug tests the way Murray, Djokovic, etal have --- yes, it's been going on for years. Rafa's a good player but he will always been seen as a bit of a cheater and potential doper for all these antics.

    addisonmango
    addisonmango

    @Elizabeth3 Yes and Toni stood up and hit the ball and placed the winning ball at the correct place on the tennis court. You people are ridiculous. It's the players who actually play the game. It doesn't matter one bit what anybody says from the sidelines -- ever. And it doesn't matter who's coaching or who it is.

    It is up to the player to hit the dang ball and have the strength to retrieve it when it's hit back. Rocket science class now ended. 

    Vinny Cordoba
    Vinny Cordoba

    @Elizabeth3 , yep, that match point made all the difference in a match Rafa won in four sets, including 6-2 in the fourth. Just shut up.

    dj13e29
    dj13e29

    Although Novak has historically been one of the players who took too much time in between points, he wasn't regularly violating during the USO final. It's likely some of their extremely long points were exceptions but for the most part, Novak was within the limit. Rafa was completely ignoring the rule.

    "It's pretty tough to enforce the rules when the two top guys like to take their time before serving"

    It really isn't. That's what the chair is there to do.

    "Interference by the chair is said to unfairly influence the outcome of important points"

    Said by who? It isn't unfair if the player is breaking the rule. If the time vio rule has been enforced from the begining of the match, it's unlikely that players will push their luck at the business end of sets/matches.

    "as a chair, do you pull back a little bit so that the crowd and players can absorb the gravity of the moment, or...stick by the book...and risk the ire of the players, commentators"

    It's important for the chair to set the tone from the start. The good officials let the players know through warnings that their pushing their luck. If the player continues to be in violation, it's on them. The chair shouldn't care about their ire. The problem with the USO was that Rafa was in violation as a matter of practice because he figured quickly that the rule wasn't being enforced. I don't blame him as much. It's the chair's job.

    "Mr Federer once told the chair that "he didn't give a s*** when the chair was just trying to do his job"

    I'm not sure how that quote helps your case considering the fact that Roger was angry that the chair was allowing too much time for challenges, therefore not doing his job. The exact phrase was a response to being told to be quiet.

    jess28
    jess28

    @addisonmango a little cheating here, a little cheating there...it all adds up for Nadal!

    jess28
    jess28

    @Vinny Cordoba a little cheating here, a little cheating there...it all adds up, dude!