Sunday 2nd August, The Hamburg Open final. Fabio Fognini secures a break point, as Rafael Nadal returns a ball short into the net, and the players walk casually back to their seats. At 5-4 and about to serve for the set, one would expect Fognini to be feeling pretty pleased but, after sitting down, he immediately bounces back up again and heads towards his opponent.
Bursting into rant in true Fognini style, the Italian confronted Rafa about the time taken between serves (“No me rompas los huevos… cada vez haces siempre lo mismo”- Don’t break my balls… you always do the same). According to Toni Nadal, in an interview the following day, “he was also mad at Rafa for some lucky shots he hit and he was upset with me because I was encouraging Rafa from the box.”
Rafa’s reaction was to remain calm in his seat, releasing frustration through the wag of the finger. He told the umpire “at the end we high-five and everything is fine.”
What were your thoughts on the outburst? Fair? Unfair? Rafa’s time between points is a well known trait and therefore nothing new.
Heading back on court afterwards, Nadal saved two set points and broke Fognini’s serve. He sealed the match and the tournament in fired-up #Rafatude. The lesson? If you’re ever going to annoy Rafa perhaps don’t do it when he’s nearing a victory.