(Reuters) - Rafa Nadal believes referees should not be too quick to punish players who take longer to prepare between points, the 31-year-old said after receiving a penalty for slow play during his French Open fourth round victory on Sunday.
The nine-times champion beat fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the last eight but was twice warned by umpire Carlos Ramos for slow play, before being docked a serve after beaching the mandated 25-second limit between points.
“If you want to play well, you have to let players breathe a little. We’re not machines that cannot think. That’s my viewpoint,” Nadal told reporters.
“What else can I say?... But this umpire is, I think, trying, in a certain way, to look for my faults, my errors.”
The 14-times grand slam champion believes that umpires should focus on the match rather than the time elapsed.
“Theoretically, the umpires are here to analyze the match and they are not here to use the stopwatch, otherwise we should have a stopwatch on the court,” Nadal added.
“That’s the whole point. Some dictate things or give their calls in a certain way. Other umpires have different styles.”
Nadal next faces Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in the quarter-finals and remains on course to win the competition for a 10th time.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien