Updated: January 25, 2019 1:36:15 pm
The post-match on-court interview responsibilities at the ongoing Australian Open are shared among multiple former players and hosts with John McEnroe being one of them. Popular for his outbursts in his playing days and for the phrase ‘you cannot be serious’, he has come under fire after a bizarre interview with Rafael Nadal.
Following Nadal’s straight sets win over high-flying Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals on Thursday, McEnroe committed a verbal foot fault when claiming he had seen the Spaniard naked. Minutes after completing a one-sided contest on Rod Laver Arena, which finished 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 to reach his fifth Australian Open final, Nadal became the victim of the odd McEnroe interview while certainly cringing many in attendance and watching on TV.
“I’m going to make some people jealous here,” McEnroe said. “I’ve got to be honest, at the end of the second set I had to take a quick bathroom break.”
“I was finishing taking this very quick bathroom break when all of a sudden I started to walk out and I saw a naked Rafael Nadal in the bathroom.”
Nadal, 32, was intrigued to ask the American tennis legend for his impression. “I thought to myself, that looks a lot like my body. No. Absolutely lying about that,” McEnroe said. “I said to myself, I wish I had a body like that.”
Sorry but asking Nadal about seeing him naked in the bathroom?
That’s not fun banter … That’s off-colour and distasteful.
No more McEnroe.
— Hannah Wilks (@newballsplease) January 24, 2019
John McEnroe interviewing is equivalent to your drunk uncle at a wedding giving a speech #ausopen
— Nez (@fraggle73) January 22, 2019
And for no apparent reason, John McEnroe tells everyone he saw Nadal naked in the dressing rooms.
Strong brag tho. #AusOpen
— Brendan Bradford (@1bbradfo) January 24, 2019
Wow, super awkward interview b/w John McEnroe and Rafael Nadal. When your “question” starts with “I saw you naked in the bathroom…” you know it’s not going anywhere good #AusOpen
— Grant Sheppard (@grantjsheppard) January 24, 2019
Quizzed about it later Nadal said he was running short on time so he had been changing. “Yes, I heard someone was there but I don’t have one hour to wait for him to go out. I had to change, that’s all.”
The absurd interview also included a question about Nadal’s sleeveless look. Across the two weeks, Nadal was earlier questioned about getting his shirt off, and encouraged to strip down after another win at Melbourne Park.
In another controversial interview from the past at the Australian Open, Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard was asked to twirl by a male TV present in 2015.
Channel 7 interviewer Ian Cohen had asked if Bouchard could “tell us about [her] outfit”. “A twirl?” the then 20-year-old Bouchard asked. To which Cohen explained: “A twirl – like a pirouette.”
The silly line of questioning was shared online and widely reported by international media. It was perceived to be sexist with many asking if male players such as Roger Federer or Nadal would ever be asked such a thing.
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