PARIS – Rafael Nadal has asked the ATP that chair umpire Carlos Bernardes not be assigned to his matches for the time being because of a dispute between the two at a tournament in February.
After his first-round victory at the French Open on Tuesday, Nadal said he respects Bernardes, but it is "better for both of us if we are not (on a) court at the same time for a while."
Nadal said he felt Bernardes was "not enough respectful" during a match in Rio de Janeiro, when Nadal put his shorts on improperly and asked if he could go to the locker room to change. Nadal said Bernardes told him he would receive a time warning.
"For me, that's not fair," Nadal said.
At Roland Garros, the French tennis federation handles chair umpire assignments. A federation spokesperson said there was no request by Nadal to avoid Bernardes during the French Open, but added that it's common knowledge the two have a tense relationship so it makes sense not to put them on the same court.
ATP spokesman Simon Higson said the tour wouldn't comment on any specific decisions related to how it picks chair umpires for matches. Speaking generally about a player asking for a certain umpire to be kept away from his matches, Higson wrote in an email: "Requests such as this are not uncommon, either from the player or the umpire."
Asked Tuesday whether he had ever made such a request, Novak Djokovic said he hadn't — nor did he think it a regular occurrence.
"There are some chair umpires in some matches that I remember that I wasn't very happy with how they did their job, but I never thought of requesting a chair umpire not to ever — or whatever, for a certain time — be a chair umpire in my matches," Djokovic said. "I don't think that's fair. I don't think that's fair to them. You know, they do their job as best as they can. Of course, sometimes they do it better or worse."