WATCH: Rafael Nadal clashes with umpire after huge line call controversy in Madrid

Rafael Nadal close up Barcelona Open 2024
Rafael Nadal looks on during a match

Rafael Nadal dramatically clashed with umpire Fergus Murphy after a huge controversial line call in the early stages of his match against Alex de Minaur.

Serving at 2-0 up after an early break of serve, Nadal appeared to stop play and circled a mark at the back of the court from a de Minaur return, which he believed had sailed long.

However, his Australian Open finished the point at the net, and – with Madrid using electronic line calling this year – Nadal lost the point after not officially challenging.

Hawkeye showed on screen that de Minaur’s return was in fact long, but the point allowed him to move 15-40 up on the Spaniard’s serve, and ultimately break back.

Seemingly unaware he had to officially challenge, Nadal was left incredulous at the decision and argued heavily with Murphy in the aftermath of the call.

“I did not see you making any challenge. You didn’t say anything. You have to use the system,” said Murphy, one of the most experienced umpires in the sport.

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Nadal retorted: “I just stopped. I have to say challenge? Is that new?”

A tournament supervisor later came onto the court to discuss the incident with the 22-time Grand Slam champion, but little could be done after the incident.

The incident will likely lead to even more debate about the line calling systems used in tennis, with the rules and systems varying on an event-by-event basis.

An already raucous crowd inside the Caja Magica grew even more vocal after the incident, jeering umpire Murphy immediately after the incident and also during the change of ends, when Nadal was speaking towards the supervisor.

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