Fans have defended Rafael Nadal after he risked a sexism row by saying he is “a little bit more” than womens world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty, as the Spanish ace was given Wimbledon Centre Court billing while Barty played on Court 2.
Third seed Nadal took center stage at the All England Club on Monday as he swept aside Portugals Joao Sousa in straight sets to reach the quarterfinal.
Meanwhile, womens top seed Barty was shunted out to Court 2 – the third biggest stage at Wimbledon – as she suffered a shock defeat to unfancied American Alison Riske.
After his match, Nadal was asked his thoughts on whether it was right that he had been handed a Centre Court draw as world number two, while Barty was sidelined to a lesser stage.
“I am the world No. 2 and I won 18 Grand Slams. My answer is not no or yes. My answer is they make a decision,” the Spaniard, 33, replied.
“You are putting Ashleigh Barty in front of me. For me, both decisions are good.
“In the world of tennis today, honestly, my feeling is today I am little bit more than Ashleigh Barty,” the two-time Wimbledon winner added.
“Even if Ashleigh Barty is the first player of the world and she already won in the French Open and she is playing unbelievably good.”
He added: “We cant create polemics every single day about decisions that they have to take. At the end of the day they have to make a decision.”
Barty, 23, did not appear bothered by her appearance on a smaller stage, saying: “Its a beautiful court. I enjoyed my time out there.”
But for some online, the decision of the organizers – and Nadals subsequent comments – did not sit well.
“To be honest… in the world today… Im a little bit more than Ashleigh Barty.” This is Rafael Nadal (ranked #2) explaining why he bumped Barty (ranked #1) off centre court. Love those metrics.
— Annabel Crabb (@annabelcrabb) July 8, 2019
Why the hell did the #Wimbledon organisers put the WOMEN'S WORLD NUMBER ONE, Ashleigh Barty on Court 2, yet the men's number one, two AND three all get put on the 'show courts'. I'd love to see Djokovic, Nadal or Federer NOT to be on a show court for once!
— Liam (@RedDevilLiam) July 8, 2019
That is quite arrogant from him. And shows a lack of respect for womens' tennis which should not be underestimated.
— Eletto (@MatteoDaRe) July 8, 2019
But others have rushed to Nadals defense, claiming that any outrage is confected and that the Spaniard, as an 18-time Grand Slam winner, was merely stating facts that he is the bigger drawn for fans than Barty.
Others accused journalists of attempting to twist Nadals words, and asking him questions that they would never put to fellow generational great Roger Federer, who also appeared on Centre Court on Monday.
them: Nadal never says what he honestly thinks in press, he makes me sick
Rafa: *gives another honest opinion in press*
them: HOW DARE THAT ARROGANT NADAL SAY HE HONESTLY THINKS BOTH HE & BARTY WERE REASONABLE CHOICES TO PLAY CENTRE COURT JUST BC HE WON 18 GRAND SLAMS IM MAD pic.twitter.com/kCmZAlJOKv
— TroubleFault (@troublefault) July 8, 2019
I feel like a lot of the things Nadal says are often misconstrued because he doesnt have perfect English. He just means that he is a bigger draw than Barty, which to be entirely factual, he is. https://t.co/beHB1beGWI
— Marvel (@piquancy_) July 8, 2019
Ask the centre court crowd if they would prefer a competitive womens match over Nadal. Most people come to see the stars, this doofus just has to find somethiRead More – Source