As the ATP championships beginning tomorrow, watch Rafael Nadal. But more importantly watch the hands of his coach and uncle, Toni, sitting in the stands.
You wouldn’t think that the world No. 1 Spaniard would need coaching, but Toni sits in the stands during matches giving his ward illegal hand signals. Coaching from the stands is illegal on the ATP tour. But Toni does it, and Nadal looks for it every match. Nadal this year has openly admitted he receives coaching hand signals during matches. The ATP looks the other way. For the most part.
Today Nadal was awarded the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship award for 2010 — voted on by his fellow players! Players have to remember it’s not the “Nice Guy Award,” ’cause Nadal regularly shows he is one of the most respectful and nicest guys out there. It’s the Sportsmanship award, which last time I looked is in regard to being a good sport and following the rules.
The players voted Nadal the Sportsman, but fans voted Roger Federer the 2010 Fans’ Favorite Singles Player, over Nadal who won three slam titles this year. Maybe the fans have spoken. Nadal being voted the Sportsman is significant not only because he “cheats,” but his award also breaks Federer’s six Sportsman awards in a row.
At Wimbledon this year the 2010 Sportsman Nadal was warned by the chair umpire not to receive coaching from or talk to his uncle in the crowd. Yet later in the same match Nadal was slapped with a code violation for talking to his uncle, who was in the player’s box.
No one is making a big deal of this. Am I wrong? I’m no hater either, I like Nadal as a person and love watching him play. Is this just something that is a small thing and should be brushed off? Tell me I’m wrong.
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