Monday marked the official opening day of the 2016 season and it was also the day Rafael Nadal and chair umpire Carlos Bernardes reunited on court for the first time since the Rio Open last year in February.
Nadal had requested the ATP not to be umpired by the Brazilian after they argued during the Rio semi-finals regarding time violations.
The world No5 had explained that they just needed a break so things cool down and it looks like finally, almost 11 months later, things are back to normal as Bernardes officiated Nadal’s opening doubles match on Tuesday in Doha.
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Not like Nadal was keen to discuss the matter though. Asked if he had spoken to Bernardes to clear the air prior to this season, the Mallorcan simply said: “No!”
Meanwhile, Tomas Berdych appeared in his pre-event press conference dressed in adidas gear which means the Czech has parted ways with H&M and bid farewell to their flower prints, beige pyjama-like shorts and Argentina football jersey-inspired shirts.
While I won’t miss the outfits, surely we’re all going to miss massacring them in our daily coverage. It was an entertainment factor that is tough to replicate.
— René Denfeld (@Renestance) January 4, 2016
Out on the courts of the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, conditions have been undeniably cold and windy.
It’s been getting colder and colder each year in Doha and I wonder how this event can continue to be held outdoors in the future.
Especially that most of the matches are played after sunset and 15-degree weather, plus wind chill, is not a pleasant experience, especially for spectators.
While many players are used to much colder weather, “I know really of conditions much worse than this,” Berdych told me on Monday, it’s also not the ideal preparation for the Australian Open, where temperatures are usually very high.
Will players soon opt to play at warmer tournaments in the future to get ready for Melbourne?