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I'm no macho man, says Nadal as he's quizzed on sexism

Reuters , Tuesday 26 May 2015
Rafael Nadal
Spain's Rafael Nadal in action during the first round of the French Open (Photo: Reuters)
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Rafa Nadal's French Open win was reduced to a sideline in his post-match news conference on Tuesday as he was quizzed on sexism and whether or not he had asked for one umpire not to be assigned to his court.

He ended up hitting out at his Spanish tennis federation for their handling of the country's Davis Cup team and accused them of failing to invest in young players.

The line of questioning stemmed from controversy over Spain choosing Gala Leon as their first female Davis Cup captain following Carlos Moya's exit.

Nadal's uncle criticized the appointment of a woman while the former world number one said she fueled a debate that was "false and absurd".

After talking about beating French wildcard Quentin Halys in straight sets in the first round, the nine-times Roland Garros champion was pushed on trickier subjects.

"People have said I was macho so I won't say anything about that any longer," Nadal told reporters. "I don't want to talk about sexism because I'm not macho.

"Women are very important to me. My mum, my sister, my fiancee. There are lots of people in my life, lots of women who play a pivotal role.

"I don't want to be embroiled in that story because this will fuel lots of stories that are not true."

Nadal then confirmed he had asked for Brazilian umpire Carlos Bernardes not to chair his matches.

"It was my request," he added. "I asked if it's possible but nothing personal against him, 100 percent. I respect him as an umpire, I respect him as a person and I consider him a good person more than that.

"I would love to have Bernardes on the court again. It will happen but I think for both of us it is better to have a break. We had some problems. He was not respectful enough with me in Rio de Janeiro."

Bernardes told Nadal in Rio in February he would be time-faulted if he changed his shorts after he put them on the wrong way round.

Nadal also turned his ire on the Spanish federation on Tuesday.

"It's not like the Americans, the French or the Brits," he explained. "These federations have helped the young players so young players can have a bright future in the world of tennis.

"The Royal Spanish Tennis Federation didn't help a lot of young players."

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