Rafael Nadal condemned the actions of Novak Djokovic during his 2020 Olympic semi-final.
The Serbian’s frustrations boiled over during his defeat to Germany’s Alexander Zverev, who went on to win the gold medal.
The world number one, 34, smashed his racket against the net post and threw a racket into the empty stands as his Olympic dream came to a disappointing end.
Nadal, 35, who opted not to compete in Tokyo, gave his assessment on the decisions his rival made during the match.
In a news conference ahead of his appearance at the Citi Open in Washington, the 13-time Roland Garros winner said: “Luckily there weren't any fans in the stands and it didn't lead to anything but these are things that happen once in a while and you have to try and avoid them.
“It's important to avoid these types of situations especially if you're a reference for many children. At the end of the day he's the world No 1 and one of the best of all time.”
This is not the first time Djokovic’s anger has gotten the better of him on a tennis court, as he was defaulted at least year's US Open after accidentally hitting a lineswoman in the throat with the ball.
Rafa continued: “'It's strange that someone who has had so much success should react that way from time to time but at the end of the day he's very competitive and reacts like that. It's not the best image.”
The Spanish matador will return to the court this week for the first time since losing to Djokovic in the semi-finals of this year’s French Open.
He admitted his body would not have been able to cope with competing at both Wimbledon and the subsequent Olympics, and was disappointed he had to miss the two biggest tournaments on the tennis calendar.
“My body decided for me, if I could have chosen I never would have missed Wimbledon nor the Olympics,' he said.
“I am taking steps forward and hope to be ready so I can compete well.”
Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer will all be aiming for a record 21st grand slam crown at the US Open later this month in what will be arguably the most highly-anticipated tournament in the history of tennis.
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