- 11 Feb 2021
Rafael Nadal said he felt pity for the woman who hurled abuse at him and flipped a middle-finger gesture before being thrown out of Rod Laver Arena at the Australian Open.
In the last match of the day on the main show court, the fan was ejected near the end of the second set, viciously taking issue with the time Nadal was taking before each serve.
She yelled out as Nadal repeatedly bounced the ball, readying himself to send down a serve to second-round opponent Michael Mmoh.
The fan appeared to call Nadal an “OCD f***”, and he responded with bafflement and some amusement before looking up to the stands, with the spectator staring down at him, the middle finger on her right hand raised in an aggressive manner.
The umpire then spoke out to declare: “Thanks madam, you’re delaying everything.”
Moments later, security arrived to escort the woman out of the show court, to the roaring approval of the vast majority of the crowd.
“Yeah, it was to me I think,” Nadal said of the gesture.
“Maybe she took too much gin or tequila. I don’t know. But honestly it was a strange situation, but funny at the same time.”
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 11, 2021
He had laughed at the bizarre nature of the incident when it happened, with the 20-time grand slam champion having been unused to facing any such sniping during his career.
“For me it was funny,” Nadal added in his post-match news conference after tying up a 6-1 6-4 6-2 win.
“Honestly, somebody doing the finger to me. I don’t know the reason, but yeah, I was surprised, but at the same time I was thinking, ‘Poor girl’. Because probably she was drunk or something like this. I don’t know.”
Nadal will face Cameron Norrie in round three.