Nadal, Maria go on the offensive
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.