Monday 19 August 2019

'I am little bit more than Ashleigh Barty' - Rafael Nadal insists he was worthy of Centre Court ahead of women's top seed

Rafa Nadal says he deserved Centre Court ahead of Ashleigh Barty
Rafa Nadal says he deserved Centre Court ahead of Ashleigh Barty
Rafa Nadal in action on Centre Court

Jonathan Veal

Rafael Nadal insists he was worthy of his place on Centre Court ahead of women's top seed Ashleigh Barty on manic Monday at Wimbledon.

The Spaniard breezed through to the quarter-finals with victory over Joao Sousa while Barty was a surprise loser to Alison Riske on Court Two.

The second Monday is a notoriously difficult day for the tournament organisers as all last-16 games in both the men's and the women's draws have to be scheduled.

That saw Barty shunted to the outpost on Two and Nadal was quizzed on it after his match by a journalist, who suggested that because the Australian was the world number one she might have been picked to play on Centre.

"I am the world two and I won 18 grand slams," Nadal retorted. "My answer is not no or yes. My answer is they make a decision.

"You are putting Ashleigh Barty in front of me. For me, both decisions are good.

"In the world of tennis today, honestly, my feeling is today I am little bit more than Ashleigh Barty, even if Ashleigh Barty is the first player of the world and she already won in the French Open and she is playing unbelievably good.

"But we can't create polemics every single day about decisions that they have to take. At the end of the day they have to make a decision.

"A day like today, everybody is playing, of course (Novak) Djokovic is not playing in the Centre Court.

"For me, the first day I played Court One. I played on Suzanne Lenglen in Roland Garros, if I'm not wrong, in the second round.

"Every day is a decision. We cannot create polemics about that.

"Court Two, okay, they have to make decisions. Today they probably decided that. They have another women's match playing on the Centre Court now."

The level of Nadal's play in his 6-2 6-2 6-2 stroll over Sousa was certainly worthy of Centre Court and further showcased his credentials as a title contender.

The 33-year-old is moving extremely well for a man whose knees have not always been grateful for the transition from clay to grass in the past and a tantalising semi-final with Roger Federer is edging ever closer.

He reached the semi-final last year, losing an epic battle to Novak Djokovic, but this is just his second quarter-final at SW19 since 2011 and he does not want to compare.

"Every year is different. Doesn't matter how I felt last year comparing to this year," he added.

"Of course, I am in quarter-finals. Of course, I have been playing good matches. Today was another good one. That gives me confidence.

"I know now starts the most difficult part of the tournament."

PA Media

The Throw-In All-Ireland Hurling Final preview: Can Tipp's firepower edge clash with the Cats?

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport