Mats Wilander has suggested “great champions” like Rafael Nadal should be “cut some slack” after his flare-up with Denis Shapovalov.
Nadal came through a tough five-set match against Shapovalov to make the semi-finals of the Australian Open for the first time since 2019.
Shapovalov was left angered by the time that Nadal was taking between points and yelled at umpire Carlos Bernardes for not handing him a code violation.
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He accused the umpire of being “corrupt” and exchanged heated words with Nadal at the net.
While Shapovalov said in his post-match press conference that he misspoke when he used the term “corrupt”, he did intimate that top players receive special treatment.
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Wilander suggested that might be the case, but Shapovalov should try to focus on his own game.
“Rafa plays on Rod Laver Arena because he deserves to be there,” said Wilander on Eurosport.

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“And I don’t think there’s any way you are not going to give the great champions some slack at some points. It’s part of our sport a bit, it’s not fair.
“Rafa deserves a bit of that if it’s not fair, but Denis will realise that you need a bit more time. Denis most probably needs to go onto the court and think ‘what will not make me irritated? That’s right, Rafa taking too long, that cannot interfere with my brain’.”
Shapovalov roared back from two sets down to force a decider against Nadal, but couldn’t claim a famous victory.
Instead it is Nadal who will meet seventh seed Matteo Berrettini for a spot in the final after he overcame Gael Monfils in five sets.
Reflecting on the clash between Nadal and Shapovalov, former British No. 1 Tim Henman said: “Firstly there’s the question of when the umpire starts the clock and if it’s straight after the point has finished.
"You normally try to play at the server’s pace, Denis got frustrated that he was at the line about to serve and Rafa wasn’t ready so he was trying to say to Carlos Bernardes ‘why don’t you give him a code violation because I’m ready to play’.

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“When they had the conversation at the net it was because Carlos Bernardes was looking at Denis Shapovalov when he was returning and he’s saying ‘why are you looking at me, Rafa’s serving you should be looking at him’.
“At the end of the day I don’t think the match was decided by this, it was about what was happening between the lines and during the points and I think it was a bit of frustration from Shapovalov.
“I think it was good he recognised he chose the wrong language. To use the word ‘corrupt’ is the wrong word and I don’t think he meant that. I think he meant he wasn’t being treated fairly.”
Asked whether he and other top players had earned special treatment, Nadal insisted that should not be the case.
“No. Not in that case, no, no,” said the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

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“I really believe that on the court you don't deserve better treatment than the others. And I really don't want it and I don't feel I have it.
“Without a doubt, even as everybody knows, that I have a huge respect for Carlos, and I think he's a great umpire. Is it not the case that he was always hard with me on court, no?
“I really believe that sometimes... it's always in the mind that the top players get bigger advantages, no, and honestly on court is not true, no? That's my feeling. I never feel that I had advantages on court.
“If I am not wrong, in the last couple of years we have a clock, we increase the measures to make the things more fair for everyone, no?"
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