Paris, June 5: Rafael Nadal created history by making it to the quarter-finals of the French Open for a record 11th time by beating his compatriot Roberto Bautista Agut on Sunday (June 4). However, after the game, the Spaniard looked utterly disgusted with the umpire Carlos Ramos.
The 14-time Grand Slam winner has blasted French Open umpire Carlos Ramos for treating him 'like a machine' and suggested he was being unfairly targeted in an effort to speed up play.
Nadal’s big achievement of matching Roger Federer's mark for last-eight appearances in Paris was overshadowed by an astonishing broadside at Ramos.
The umpire had warned the 31-year-old in the first set for slow play and again in the third before deciding to dock Nadal the first serve.
Courtside microphones picked up the nine-time champion saying, "You can keep giving me those warnings but you are not going to be in the chair for me again."
This is not the first time Ramos’ name has come under controversies as defending French Open champion also seemed unhappy with him on Saturday.
Rafael Nadal is well-known as a sporting person during interviews but even a person like him took a dig at the umpire during the post-match conference which speaks volumes about his disgust.
"If you want to play well, you have to let players breathe a little. We're not machines that cannot think. That's my viewpoint," said Nadal, who repeatedly falls foul of the rule which stipulates a maximum 25 seconds between points.
"What else can I say? I'm telling you this with some sadness because I don't want to have any problems.
"But this umpire is, I think, trying, in a certain way, to look for my faults, my errors."
The 14-time major winner believes that some umpires are stricter than others who may afford a player more leeway especially in the red-hot atmosphere of a Grand Slam.
"Theoretically the umpires are here to analyse the match and they are not here to use the stopwatch, otherwise we should have a stopwatch on the court," added Nadal, warming to his theme.
"That's the whole point. Some dictate things or give their calls in a certain way. Other umpires have different styles."
Despite a career-long habit of overstepping the time allowance - as we saw at the Australian Open in January - Nadal insisted he will not change.
"I told him that he will have to give me many warnings, because if I have not yet grabbed my towel, that he's going to give me a warning," he added.
Nadal’s opponent Bautista Agut also backed Nadal in his spat with Ramos.
"Rafa and I need to play a lot of points. We need to run around a lot. Having the pressure of the umpires is something we don't really need," said the 29-year-old.
"I don't think I really agree with that rule."
The fall-out with Ramos meant that Nadal's smooth progress to the last eight became a sideshow.
He has dropped just 20 games in four rounds so far, just one more than he lost at the same stage in 2012, as he attempts to become the first player to win the same Slam 10 times.
Nadal will face fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta who stunned fifth-seeded Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 8-6.