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By Chris Oddo | Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rafael Nadal confirmed the rumors that started to circulate last week when Simon Briggs of the Telegraph wrote this piece. Basically, the piece suggested that Nadal used his influence to get Bernardes banned from his matches after the pair had a disagreement in Rio.

Nadal confirmed this rumors after his first-round victory in Paris on Tuesday.

While Nadal’s revelation will likely be met with some disappointment in the ATP, Briggs himself wrote in the article that the organization has seen to it that umpires who have had run-ins with players have been removed before.

Still, many will agree that it’s a slippery slope we are treading when star players get to have a say in who officiates or doesn’t officiate their matches.

Nadal explained the incident, and what led to his request from the ATP in full in his press conference in Paris today.

Q. Can you tell me what happened with Bernardes? Is it true the situation he cannot umpire your matches, or do you know anything about it? Because I read it, but I have no exactly the clue what happened.

RAFAEL NADAL: Is easy, no? There is a lot of umpires on the tour. I respect a lot Bernardes. I consider him a great umpire and a good person, but I think when you have some troubles with the same umpire, sometimes it's easy to stay for a while away, no? I think that's the real thing. I think is better for both of us if we are not in court at the same time for a while after what happened in Rio de Janeiro. That's it. No problem with him personally.

Q. But not your request?

RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, it was my request, and the ATP talking about -- well, I asked if it's possible, but nothing personal against him 100%. I respect him like umpire, I respect him like person, and I consider him a good person more than that. So for me is not -- I am not happy with that situation. That's the first thing. Because I would love to have Bernardes on the court again. Will happen, but, you know, I think for both of us it is better to have a break, you know. We had some problems. For me he hasn't -- he was not enough respectful with me in Rio de Janeiro . That was my feeling when I put my shorts the other way. He wants to put me warnings four times, that's fine. But if I put my shorts other way and I ask him if I can change my shorts, I can put my shorts the right way, and his answer is, Yes, but you will receive a time warning. For me, that's not fair, you know, (smiling.) When something like that, something like this did happen on court, that I think is not fair. I think is, you know, shows not respect, because I cannot play a full game with the shorts the other way. So it's better. It's better to be away for a while. That's all. No personal problem with him, no? Seriously, I'm not saying that because I am in front of you. I respect him, I like him, but he was not right. And I believe that is for relationship and everything is better to be away for a bit.


Later in the day, Novak Djokovic was asked if he'd ever encountered similar experiences in his career with umpires, and he replied that he's had his differences but never felt the need to ask to be kept away from an umpire.

"There are some chair umpires in some matches that I remember that I wasn't very happy with how they did their job, but I never thought of requesting a chair umpire not to ever or whatever, for a certain time, be a chair umpire in my matches," Djokovic said. "I don't think that's fair. I don't think that's fair to them. You know, they do their job as best as they can. Of course, sometimes they do it better or worse."

To be fair to both Djokovic and Nadal, it didn't appear that Djokovic was briefed on the story about Nadal before he was asked the question. He was asked the question in a press conference, and the reporter who asked made no mention of Nadal's comments or situation. Whether or not Djokovic knows about Nadal and Bernardes' rift was not made clear.

Nadal will be in action again on Thursday when he faces his compatriot Nicolas Almagro in the second round.

 

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