Andy Murray refused to slam Rafael Nadal for taking too much time between points but instead asked the media to “draw your own conclusions”, following his loss to the Spaniard in the Monte Carlo semi-finals on Saturday.
Murray got off to an explosive start against Nadal but lost his cool in the second and third sets, having several spats with umpire Damien Dumusois, who accused the world No. 2 of being disrespectful.
Nadal, known to take liberties with the 25 seconds allotted to a player before serving, was timed taking as many as 31 seconds between points on his way to breaking his opponent in the third set.
Murray told Dumusois: “It’s fascinating what you let some of these guys get away with.”
The Mallorcan was given more than one time violation warning in the encounter, including one on match point.
The umpire hit out at Murray, accusing him of intentionally throwing the ball at him twice.
“You have zero respect for me,” Dumusois told the Brit, to which Murray responded: “Don’t just make stuff up.”
Asked to comment on his exchanges with the umpire and whether they were about Nadal’s time violations, Murray said: “There were a few things that happened in the match. Obviously towards the end, he got the time violation for taking too long in that last game.
“You guys were watching. And you can draw your own conclusions from it. I don’t know how much of a bearing any of that had on the outcome… But when you’re losing at the end, it’s easy to get frustrated at things.”
On whether he was satisfied with his level of concentration, Murray said: “I think it was positive. I played a good match today. It wasn’t perfect. But apart from the one game at 3-1 in the third, I mean, I played good.
“I do feel like I played a pretty good level match today for the most part. Obviously, there was a few dips. But, I mean, that can happen. Also Rafa is allowed to play well sometimes, too. So you have to give your opponent credit.”
Rafael Nadal returned to the final of the Monte Carlo Masters for the first time in three years, the eight-time champion needing five match points before completing a 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Andy Murray on Saturday.
Waiting for him in his 100th ATP final is Gael Monfils, who hammered French compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 6-3, with the loser drawing jeers as he left the court after 69 minutes.
Monfils, making his second consecutive Monte Carlo semi-final start, briefly surrendered a lead in the second set but quickly recovered to storm into the final.
Nadal will be playing his 10th final in the Principality and holds a solid 11-2 record over Monfils. The Spanish world No. 5 has not won a Masters title since Madrid, 2014.
“It’s a very important week for me, being in a final here again in Monte Carlo, winning against very tough opponents,” said Nadal who had tough victories over Stan Wawrinka and Dominic Thiem in the previous two rounds.
“That’s a lot of great confidence, good news for me. Let’s see if tomorrow I can play at the same level.”
The ‘King of Clay’ showed hints of the form which took him to multiple seasons of total dominance on the surface as he overcame second seed Murray in a battle that lasted two hours and 43 minutes.
Drop shot winners, forehand winners, backhand winners. Monte Carlo clay.— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) April 16, 2016
“I don’t want to talk every day about if I am back or I am not back. Is something that I don’t think about,” Nadal eloquently said after his victory. “I am what I am today.
“Rafael Nadal of 2016 will not be the same of 2009 or 2008 again. Every year is different. Every feeling is different. I don’t want to compare myself or trying to analyse if I am the same like before or not.
“I am trying my best every single day. I want to be today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today, and after tomorrow better than tomorrow. That’s it. That’s my motivation. I don’t want to think about the past.”
It was not all one-way traffic for Nadal, who spent 10 minutes in the final game between his first match points and his fifth in fighting off a late Murray charge.
The 28-year-old Murray saved four match points and had two break chances of his own before Nadal finally drilled over a winner to seal the deal.
Nadal, the 14-time grand slam champion, has not won a title of any kind since last summer in Hamburg. He improved to 17-6 over Murray, 7-1 on clay.
Victory on Sunday could see Nadal reclaim his record of most Masters 1000 titles won as he would tie Novak Djokovic with 28 trophies won at that level.
On his part, Monfils is chasing his first-ever Masters crown in his third final appearance at that level.
“It’s going to be a tough one, a big one. Definitely I will go on the court with everything I have,” said Monfils of his upcoming showdown with Nadal.
“It’s going to be a physical combat. I saw a few rallies between Nadal and Murray. These were huge rallies on clay with deep shots, and I will need to play well if I want to win.”
The French No. 13 seed is the first double-digit seed to reach the Monte Carlo final since Nadal won the tournament seeded No. 11 back in 2005.
Waiting for him in his 100th ATP final is Gael Monfils, who hammered French compatriot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1, 6-3, with the loser drawing jeers as he left the court in after 69 minutes.
Monfils, making his second consecutive Monte Carlo semi-final start, never allowed Tsonga a chance in their match, breaking six times.
Nadal will be playing his tenth final here and holds a solid 11-2 record over Monfils. He has not won a Masters title since Madrid, 2014.
"It's a very important week for me, being in a final here again in Monte Carlo, winning against very tough opponents," the winner said.
Spain's fifth-seeded king of clay showed hints of the form which took him to multiple seasons of total dominance on the surface as he overcame second seed Murray in a battle lasting for more than two and a half hours.