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Roger Federer angry at Rafael Nadal's umpire request

By Tom Allnutt

Published 28/05/2015

Cast long shadow: Roger Federer on way to victory over Marcel Granollers
Cast long shadow: Roger Federer on way to victory over Marcel Granollers

Roger Federer insists top players should not be given special treatment after Rafael Nadal requested to be given a break from umpire Carlos Bernardes at the French Open.

Nadal has not been officiated by Bernardes since he handed the Spaniard two time violations during an ill-tempered defeat to Fabio Fognini at the Rio Open in February.

The nine-time French Open champion confirmed he had complained about the Brazilian umpire to the ATP, which runs the men's tour, explaining Bernardes was "not respectful enough" and it would be "better to have a break".

Federer, speaking after his 6-2 7-6 (7/1) 6-3 second-round win over Spain's Marcel Granollers, believes there is room for flexibility in the enforcement of the rules but says it should not depend on the players involved.

"I do not want to be treated differently," Federer said.

"If you get angry or you break a racquet, you don't want to get a warning right away.

"If the umpire does, then all players should be treated equally. Things have to be clear. I hope there are no bonuses.

"Big tournaments, umpires with a lot of experience, they know how to manage difficult situations.

"On Court 15 you can be stricter to educate players, but that has nothing to do with who is playing.

"On centre courts you can give a little more leeway to make sure the match goes well," he added.

Nadal's frustration in Rio was accentuated after he requested to change his shorts, which he had put on the wrong way round, but was warned it would cost him another violation to do so.

"In his situation there are maybe enough umpires out there that it's not such a big problem for the ATP or the umpire or the player," Federer said.

"The players understand that not every request can be granted.

"You can make a request, but it doesn't mean you're going to get it. I think that's okay."

Stan Wawrinka was more circumspect about Nadal's actions, arguing that players exerting power over umpires could set a dangerous precedent.

"Umpires don't all keep the same watch for all players because they know that if they have trouble with one of the top players and they can't be on their match, it's tough for them because they like being there for the finals," Wawrinka said.

"If they have problems with top players it becomes difficult for them so that's the problem we have on the tour."

Wawrinka joined Federer in the third round at Roland Garros but was made to work harder for his victory as he beat Serbia's Dusan Lajovic 6-3 6-4 5-7 6-3.

The upset of the day in the men's draw came on Court Seven, where 28th seed Fabio Fognini was beaten in straight sets by France's Benoit Paire.

Roared on by the home crowd, Paire beat the Italian 6-1 6-3 7-5 to book his place in round three, where he will now play fourth seed Tomas Berdych.

Another player spurred on by French support was Gael Monfils, who came through a five-set match against Argentine Diego Schwartzman, while there were also wins for Kei Nishikori and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Britain's Andy Murray faces Portugal's Joao Sousa today but Kyle Edmund, who was due to play Australian Nick Kyrgios, withdrew last night with an abdominal injury.

Edmund was playing in his second consecutive grand slam after coming through qualifying at Roland Garros, and the 20-year-old beat France's Stephane Robert in five sets on Monday to seal his place in round two.

In the women's event defending champion Maria Sharapova dispatched world number 91 and fellow Russian Vitalia Diatchenko 6-3 6-1 in 81 minutes.

Simona Halep, runner-up in 2014, is out after a 7-5 6-1 defeat by Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.

Belfast Telegraph

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