Nadal, Sharapova hit out off court
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 claims he has been left in the dark by archrival Novak Djokovic over the leadership of the men’s tour after eliminating James Duckworth 6-4 6-3 7-5.
And Sharapova believes there is still a lack of respect for female players despite Andy Murray’s celebrated championing of women’s causes.
Usually unflappable, Nadal was animated when asked whether he had been asked for his opinion on whether the Djokovic-led ATP player coun- cil would support the reappointment of the organisation’s president Chris Kermode.
In a double-barrelled critique of the ATP, Nadal said he was also disappointed it 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’s (Djokovic) in the council or all the players are on the council, they have to come to me.”
Nadal supports the retention of Kermode, and was also deeply affected by the floods, lobbying for support from the ATP.
“I know the real life, how tough can be,” he said.
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.
Rafael Nadal celebrates his win