Rafael Nadal chides old rival Novak Djokovic for angrily hurling his racket into the stands during Olympic defeat, calling his reaction ‘strange’ and reminding him he’s ‘an example for many children’
Rafael Nadal marked his return to action this week with an unusual reprimand for Novak Djokovic over his erratic behaviour at the Olympics.
Preparing to play the Citi Open in Washington DC, the Spaniard criticised his rival for setting a poor example to children.
Djokovic’s notorious temper boiled over in his bronze medal play-off defeat by Pablo Carreno Busta, when he angrily hurled his racket into the empty stands before smashing another against a net post. The world No 1 left Tokyo without a medal.
Rafa Nadal (right) has rebuked Novak Djokovic (left) after the Serbian threw his racket in anger
Djokovic hurled his racket into the empty stands during his defeat to Pablo Carreno Busta
He also smashed a racket and hurled it into the net during an epic meltdown on court
‘It’s strange someone who has had so much success should react that way from time to time, but at the end of the day he’s very competitive and reacts like that,’ said Nadal.
‘It’s not the best image. It’s important to avoid these situations, especially if you’re a reference for many children.
‘Luckily there weren’t any fans in the stands and it didn’t lead to anything, but these are things that happen once in a while and you have to try to avoid them.’
Djokovic has a habit of losing his temper in matches and Nadal said: ‘It’s not the best image’
Nadal is playing at the Citi Open to prepare for the US Open after missing the last two months
Carreno Busta was Djokovic’s opponent at the US Open last year when the Serb was defaulted in the fourth round for swiping away a ball that hit a line judge in the neck.
There is little love lost between Nadal and Djokovic, who ended the Spaniard’s run of French Open titles with a semi-final victory in June before going on to win Wimbledon. Nadal is no great fan of Djokovic’s burgeoning players’ union, the Professional Tennis Players Association.
Nadal, who did not play at Wimbledon or the Olympics, revealed he did not pick up a racket for nearly three weeks after Roland Garros due to a foot problem. However, he is now giving himself a lengthy run-in to Flushing Meadows.
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