Lorenzo Sonego accuses Rafael Nadal of gamesmanship

Lorenzo Sonego (left) accuses Rafael Nadal of gamesmanship during their Wimbledon clash

Lorenzo Sonego (left) accuses Rafael Nadal of gamesmanship during their Wimbledon clash

Lorenzo Sonego accused Rafael Nadal of gamesmanship after losing their third-round clash at Wimbledon on Saturday.

Nadal seemed to be bothered by the Italian’s late grunting during the match on Centre Court, which the 22-time major champion won 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.

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Things had started to simmer early on in the third set.

With Nadal 3-1 up, a return from the two-time Wimbledon champion struck Sonego on his head and the latter then requested for the lights to be turned on.

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The roof was closed when Nadal was leading 4-2 leaving the 36-year-old frustrated as it caused a delay in the match.

After restart, Sonego seemed to find his rhythm as he levelled things at 4-4 before Nadal called him at the nets and the exchange led to the umpire getting involved.

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“A player should not call his opponent on the net. You cannot do that at Wimbledon,” Sonego said after the match.

“Nadal should have just had a word with the umpire. He distracted me.”

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While the Spaniard then regained control over a match he had dominated and wrapped up victory quickly.

He carried on speaking to the Italian at the net after they had shaken hands at the end and was jeered by the crowd.

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In his on-court interview, Nadal said he felt sorry if he “bothered him”, saying he “did it in a right way”.

He later said he had spoken to Sonego in the locker room and apologised, adding he did not want to comment on the specific issues in the match.

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“I should not call him [to] the net,” Nadal told a news conference.

“I have to say that I was wrong. So apologise for that. My mistake in that. No problem. I recognise that.”