Paul McNamee: Rafael Nadal went against athletes' code in criticising Novak Djokovic

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Paul McNamee: Rafael Nadal went against athletes' code in criticising Novak Djokovic

Former five-time Grand Slam champion Paul McNamee was surprised to see Rafael Nadal criticising Novak Djokovic for his Tokyo Olympics outburst. During his bronze medal match against Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta, Djokovic tossed one of his rackets into the stands and later smashed another racket against the net.

Djokovic ended up suffering a surprise loss to Carreno Busta and leaving Tokyo without a medal. “Surprised Rafa actually bothering to respond, and comment, on a peer’s missteps. That’s generally ‘not the code’ amongst athletes, who all know your own fall may only be a moment away,” McNamee said on Twitter.

"I greatly admire Rafa, so it puzzles me. Highly unusual, and raised my eyebrows, for one great to give free advice to a fellow great. It creates news copy but not ideal. “For the record, I have enormous respect for Rafa & his warrior spirit…King of clay, the surface I love.

But I’m still surprised he, or any player, answers questions on peers’ behaviour. Call me old school."

Nadal suggesed that wasn't a good look for Djokovic

“Luckily there were no people in the stands and nothing else happened, but hey, they are things that happen from time to time,” Nadal said.

“You have to try to avoid them. The image is not the best. “It is important to avoid this, especially as a role model for many children. He is the number one in the world and one of best in history. “It’s strange that someone so successful reacts this way from time to time, but in the end he’s very competitive and reacts like that”.

Djokovic, ranked at No. 1 in the world, arrived to Tokyo determined to finally win his first gold medal. Djokovic was up by a set and a break in his semifinal match against Alexander Zverev but ended up losing. Djokovic was then far from his best during his bronze medal match against Djokovic.