Nadal, Maria go on the of­fen­sive

Mercury (Hobart) - - SPORT - LEO SCHLINK

POL­I­TICS have over­shad­owed heat con­cerns at the Aus­tralian Open as Rafael Nadal and Maria Shara­pova de­liv­ered sep­a­rate broad­sides after first-round Mel­bourne Park vic­to­ries.

Nadal claimed he had been left in the dark by arch-ri­val No­vak Djokovic over the lead­er­ship of the men’s tour after elim­i­nat­ing James Duck­worth 6-4 6-3 7-5.

And Shara­pova be­lieved there was still a lack of re­spect for fe­male play­ers de­spite Andy Mur­ray’s cel­e­brated cham­pi­oning of women’s causes.

Nadal was an­i­mated when asked whether he had been asked for his opin­ion on whether the Djokovic-led ATP player coun­cil would sup­port the reap­point-ment of the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s pres­i­dent Chris Ker­mode.

He was also dis­ap­pointed the ATP had not of­fered fi­nan­cial sup­port to flood vic­tims on his is­land home of Mal­lorca.

Asked if he would ap­proach Djokovic over Ker­mode’s pres­i­dency, Nadal said: “I don’t have to go. He (Djokovic) is in the coun­cil or all the play­ers are on the coun­cil, they have to come to me.

“When I was in the coun­cil, that was me. I have to go to the play­ers and ask their opin­ions. It’s not my work any­more.”

Nadal sup­ports the re­ten­tion of Ker­mode.

Shara­pova said Mur­ray was an ex­cep­tion on the men’s tour re­gard­ing gen­der equal­ity when asked about sup­port from male play­ers.

“Rel­a­tively speak­ing, I think they have been really tough, es­pe­cially when it came to equal­ity, as a gen­eral point,” the Rus­sian said.

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