Rafael Nadal accuses Wimbledon organisers of preferential treatment: 'I wanted to play on Centre Court'

By @saihoops on
2017 Wimbledon, Rafael Nadal
Tennis - Wimbledon - London, Britain - July 10, 2017 Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts after losing his fourth round match against Luxembourg’s Gilles Muller Reuters / Matthew Childs

Rafael Nadal crashed out of Wimbledon 2017 Monday after an epic five-set clash against Luxembourg journeyman Gilles Muller in the fourth-round of The Championships. After the defeat, a rather grumpy Nadal called out the organisers for not letting him compete on the hallowed Centre Court despite his storied resume.

Andy Murray and Roger Federer, the two prohibitive favourites, won their Round of 16 matches on Centre Court Monday while Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the other members of the sport's Big 4, were scheduled to play their fourth-round matches on Court No. 1. With Nadal's match lasting four hours and 48 minutes, Djokovic's tie against Adrian Mannarino was postponed to Tuesday.

Nadal, a former two-time Wimbledon champion, expressed frustration over "the same players" being allowed to compete on Centre Court. “I never said I (am) not going to come back. Yeah, I want to come back because I want to play more times in the Centre Court. I like playing more on Centre Court,” Nadal said in his post-match press conference.

The Spaniard will turn 32 next June. While making clear his intentions to return to the All-England Tennis Club in 2018, Nadal hoped to receive the same treatment as the beloved duo of Murray and Federer.

Rafael Nadal laments unfair treatment from organisers

“Someone has to play on Centre, and it’s almost always the same players here. This is the reality. Here, there are many of us who have won a lot in our careers, who have a lot of important history behind us. A tournament that wants to be as traditional and as special as Wimbledon has to distribute the number of matches scheduled on Centre Court and that not always the same people play there, and when there are doubts, the others are sent to other courts," added the 2017 French Open champion.

On Monday, American veteran Venus Williams played her Round of 16 match on Centre Court before Murray and Federer breezed past their fourth-round opponents in straight sets. At the 2017 Wimbledon, Nadal played two of his four matches on Centre Court while Murray and Federer have been scheduled to play on the main arena throughout the two weeks. 

Incidentally, Federer thanked the organisers for putting him on Centre Court Monday after he beat Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets (6-4, 6-2, 6-4) to book a berth in Wednesday's quarter-final against Milos Raonic. “Playing here on Monday on Centre Court I feel very privileged because I know they could have easily put Rafa or Novak or another women’s match on centre court today. But they chose to put me instead as well so I’m very happy. It helps maybe to have played so well here over the years and I try to pay it back by trying to play good tennis and hopefully exciting the crowd.”

Rafael Nadal and Gilles Muller delivered a classic Monday that lasted four hours and 48 minutes. After dropping the first two sets, Nadal made an incredible comeback to take the match deep into the fifth set. Muller eventually won the fifth set 15 games to 13 to set up a quarter-final clash against Marin Cilic.