Rafael Nadal was shocked to learn in his post-match press conference that a woman kicked out of his match at the Australian Open was actually abusing him.
Play was stopped for several minutes in the second set of Nadal's win over Michael Mmoh on Thursday night after the woman yelled abuse and gave Nadal the middle finger.
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She reportedly yelled "hurry up you OCD f***" before being escorted out of Rod Laver Arena by security.
While Nadal saw the lady's antics and appeared quite amused while she berated him, it was only after the match that he realised she was targeting him.
The World No.2 looked completely stunned when informed by reports in his post-match press conference that the woman's tirade was actually directed at him.
"Maybe she had too much gin or tequila. I don't know," Nadal told reporters.
"Honestly it was strange situation, but funny at the same time.
"I was surprised, yes, but at the same time was thinking, 'Poor girl', because probably she was drunk or something like this."
Discussing the incident in his on-court interview, Nadal was asked if he knew the woman.
"No, and honestly, I don't want to know," he said with a laugh.
She was a disgrace 😡
— Angie Makris (@MakrisAngie) February 11, 2021
What a disgrace, people are in lockdown for a long time, ready to do anything to see a live match again and that woman in the audience doesn't realise how privileged she is sitting there or simply stoppee caring about anything. #weird #facepalm #AustralianOpen #tennis #nadal
— Dim Bauer (@DimBauer) February 11, 2021
Some nonsensical scenes as a lady fan is escorted off the stadium as she was giving the finger. #Nadal trying to serve out the 2nd set which he does at love with some good serves. Perhaps she had too much to drink but such behaviour from fans is a disgrace #AusOpen
— rajesh (@rajeshworld) February 11, 2021
Nadal powers his way into second round
The 20-time grand slam champ was on Rod Laver Arena for less than two hours as he took down American qualifier Mmoh 6-1 6-4 6-2.
Despite entering the first grand slam of the year with concerns about a back injury, Nadal is yet to drop a set in his opening two matches.
In positive news for a deep run through the tournament, the 20-time major winner has been on court for a total time of under four hours.
Nadal produced some spectacular backhand shots against Mmoh to give old foes like Novak Djokovic plenty to think about.
"I have been improving my backhand doing all my career," Nadal said.
"When I was younger, I was able to run everywhere; now I need to have better shots on the backhand."
Nadal admits his back spasms are not fully under control but continues to do everything he can to recover.
"If you see my motion on the serve it is different than what I would like," he said.
"I just keep fighting for a solution.
"The preparation the last 15 days have not been the ideal one, but here I am. I won two matches in straight sets."
He will meet Englishman Cameron Norrie in the the third round after the world No.68 defeated Russia's Roman Safiullin in four sets.
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