Rafael Nadal slammed a “bull-s—” reporter after he suggested the Spaniard's recent marriage caused him to lose to Alexander Zverev at the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
Nadal had just lost to the German in straight sets in his opening group match on Monday when the Italian journalist Ubaldo Scanagatta made the strange accusation.
“Tonight you were playing short many times. I don't know why,” Scanagatta said to Nadal, who married long term girlfriend Xisca Perello in October.
“For many people to get married is an important and distracting thing. I'd like to know if somehow your concentration on tennis life has been a bit different even if you were going out with the same girl for many years?”
Nadal then said: “Honestly? Are you asking me this? Is it a serious question or is it a joke?
“It's a big surprise [that] you asked me this after I have been with the same girl for 15 years and had a very stable and normal life. It doesn't matter if you put a ring on your finger or not.”
Appearing agitated, the 19-time Grand Slam champion then quizzed Scanagatta on his own personal life.
“I'm a very normal guy. Maybe it's different for you,” he said. “Maybe for you it was a bit complicated. How many years have you been with your…”
“My wife? 30 years this year,” Scanagatta replied.
“And before?” said Nadal. “Ah, maybe you were not sure. That's why. Ok, we move to Spanish. Because that's bull-s—.”
Nadal simply “not good enough” against Zverev
Nadal was comprehensively beaten by Zverev on Monday, managing just 13 winners in the 6-2, 6-4 defeat, while also failing to produce a single break point.
The Spaniard has withdrawn from each of his last two tournaments with hand and abdominal problems but refused to blame his defeat to Zverev on injury.
“The physical issue was not an excuse at all,” he said, according to the BBC. “The only excuse is I was not good enough tonight.
“What really matters is I need to play much better in two days. That's the only thing. We knew that it was going to be tough, because the period of time since the injury until today is very short, but we are here trying.”
Nadal is next in action against the Russian player Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday.