Debates about gender equality are taking place with much more gusto than ever before. This topic is being fervently discussed in sporting circles as well, especially in tennis. While it is fine, even necessary, to have a frank and honest discussion about whether different sports treat men and women equally, sometimes, some people go overboard in their zeal to appear sensitive on this subject.
One such journalist decided to make an issue out of the fact that during the fourth round of the tournament, Nadal's match - which he won against Portugal's Joao Sousa 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 - was played at centre court while women's world no. 1 Ashleigh Barty competed at Court. 2, which is third in the pecking order of courts at SW19. The scribe asked whether the Spanish legend agrees to the view that Barty's match – which produced a thrilling upset as Alison Riske of USA knocked out the no. 1 ranked Australian – should have taken place at the main court instead of his match.
The 33-year old gave a short and straight answer that was also hard-hitting. "I am the world No 2 and I won 18 grand slams."
But the journalists weren't satisfied with this, so they continued to push the former champion on this issue. But Nadal remained firm without ever losing his composure and gently castigated the journos for making an issue out of nothing.
"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 have been playing in the Court 1. I played in 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," Rafa asserted.
He closed off his arguments by stating: "Court No 2, OK, they have to make decisions. Today they probably decided that. They have another girls [sic] playing on the Centre Court now."
Hopefully, this response from Nadal should make the journalists from constantly searching for a story of gender injustice. However, the way things work, it may not and more such questions will be posed to players in the future.