Top players do sometimes get special treatment from umpires – Eye of the Coach #41

In the latest episode of Eye of the Coach, Patrick Mouratoglou says umpires are under a lot of pressure when the legends of the sport are playing

January 26, 2022
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The figures

There was controversy during the quarter-final match between Rafael Nadal and Denis Shapovalov at the Australian Open on Tuesday when umpire Carlos Bernades found himself in the centre of a heated discussion about the time the Spaniard was taking to get ready between points, and about his handling of the situation.

Canadian Shapovalov, who lost the match in five sets, was frustrated that Bernades was not penalising Nadal and at one stage let his anger spill over, saying to Bernades: “You guys are all corrupt”. Shapovalov later apologised for his choice of words but the episode raised the question of whether top players receive special treatment at times.

In his latest episode of Eye of the Coach, coach Patrick Mouratoglou says he understands Shapovalov’s frustrations and says top players exert a unique pressure on chair umpires that can lead to what others may deem special treatment.

Shapovalov, Nadal, l'Open d'Australie 2022


  • Why umpires feel under pressure when umpiring the world’s best players (0.15)
  • Why Shapovalov’s frustration is totally understandable (0.42)
  • How Nadal’s problems with Bernardes in the past may influence the umpire’s thinking (1.10)
  • How the top players sometimes get special treatment, even when it’s not done on purpose (1.33)
  • How the world’s top players do what is good for them (1.50)
  • Why tennis should introduce a time rule between first and second serves (2.23)
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