'Appalling': Rafa Nadal caught in Australian Open 'disgrace'

Rafa Nadal (pictured) celebrates after defeating Denis Shapovalov at the Australian Open.
Fans were left bewildered as Channel Nine didn't show parts of the epic Australian Open match between Rafa Nadal (pictured) and Denis Shapovalov on traditional TV. (Getty Images)

Tennis fans witnessed two all-time classics at the Australian Open on Tuesday as Rafa Nadal and Denis Shapovalov duelled it out, while the 'Special Ks' won in front of a raucous crowd.

However viewers were left fuming when Channel Nine's coverage was limited for the matches.

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Nadal was pushed to five-sets with a fiery Shapovalov, with the 20-time grand slam champ showing his famous fight to prevail in an all-time classic.

Nadal's match stretched late into the afternoon, which then coincided with Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis taking to the court for their quarter-final clash against Michael Venus and Tim Peütz.

The 'Special Ks' won an absorbing contest 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 in front of one of the most raucous crowds ever witnessed at a grand slam.

However, Australian Open broadcaster Channel Nine infuriated fans when they continued to switch between the absorbing tennis epics, rather than showing both on main channels.

The broadcaster had two channels running (90 and 9Gem) during the first week of the grand slam, but just the one for the second week due to the reduction of matches.

Initially, Channel Nine's coverage of Nadal meant fans weren't able to watch Kyrgios and Kokkinakis on free-to-air TV.

Coverage then switched to the 'Special Ks' as fans created a raucous atmosphere in a huge nod to the attention the pair have brought to doubles.

But this meant fans then couldn't watch Nadal - also a fan favourite and seeking a record men's 21st grand slam - on free-to-air.

Fans had to switch to Channel Nine's online platform to watch Nadal, and to make matters worse, the other free-to-air channels were playing sitcoms and a movie from 1956.

The bizarre decision from Channel Nine certainly caught the attention of international media members.

Rafa Nadal exhausted after Australian Open classic

The Spaniard won the final set in his thrilling five-set victory over the Canadian, prompting Shapovalov to smash his racquet after losing match point.

Speaking after the match, Nadal admitted he had been in serious trouble as temperatures soared well above 30 degrees.

“I was completely destroyed after that. It was a very tough day, very warm,” he said.

Rafael Nadal (pictured) smiles during his celebration after his victory over Denis Shapovalov during day nine of the 2022 Australian Open.
Rafael Nadal (pictured) celebrates his victory over Denis Shapovalov during day nine of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 25, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

“I am not 21 anymore. After this match it is great to have two days off.

“I really believe I’m going to be ready for the semi-finals. It means everything to me.”

Now just two wins away from potentially holding the men's record grand for the most grand slam wins ever, Nadal said after a difficult year of rehab in 2021 he was simply happy to be back on court.

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