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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday January 25, 2022

After his five-set loss to Rafael Nadal in Tuesday’s quarterfinal in Rod Laver Arena, Denis Shapovalov is still smarting about what he feels is preferential treatment given to Nadal.

Tennis Express

The Canadian took issue with Nadal’s pushing of time limits after the first and fourth sets of Nadal’s 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 victory, and even got into a row with umpire Carlos Bernardes during the match.

“You guys are all corrupt,” Shapovalov concluded at the time.

Shapovalov later clarified the corruption comments, saying he didn't use the right word, but then went on the attack regarding Nadal’s slow play.

Shapovalov was frustrated at the start of the second set and wanted Bernardes to police the 20-time major champion more closely on taking too much time between points and at changeovers.

“I mean, I'm completely ready to play and the clock is ticking 3, 2, 1, clicking towards zero, and I'm looking at the ump, and, you know, obviously I'm going to speak up and say something,” Shapovalov explained. “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 if somebody says that.”

Shapovalov was also frustrated about Nadal’s time off-court for a medical evaluation after the fourth set. The Canadian says he was in a similar situation last year and he was denied the opportunity to take a bathroom break.

“He was getting medically evaluated, that's what the ump said after the fourth set, getting medically evaluated, and after the evaluation the guy goes and takes a toilet break,” he said. “It's like, where is the line? Where are you going to step on the players and say, Okay – and again, I respect everything that Rafa has done and I think he's an unbelievable player. But, you know, there's got to be some boundaries, some rules set. It's just so frustrating as a player. You know, you feel like you're not just playing against the player; you're playing against the umpires, you're playing against so much more.

Shapovalov said the long break between sets caused him to lose the momentum he had built by winning sets three and four.

“It's difficult,” he said. “I mean, it was a big break after the fourth set for this reason, and the momentum just goes away. You know, it's much more difficult to play, I think. Again, not trying to say anything against Rafa. I mean, he's a great player. I really respect all he's done. But I just think it's super difficult and super frustrating as, you know, an athlete to go up against all of this.”

When asked if he felt Nadal gets preferential treatment, the 22-year-old Canadian did not hesitate to answer.

“Of course. 100 percent he does,” he said. “Every other match that I have played, the pace has been so quick because the refs have been on the clock after every single point. This one, I mean, after the first two sets it was like an hour and a half just because he's dragged out so much after every single point. He's given so much time in between sets and all this. It's just dragged out.

“I mean, it's just not balanced, you know.”