Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates beating Portugal's Joao Sousa on Wimbledon’s Centre Court.
Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates beating Portugal's Joao Sousa on Wimbledon’s Centre Court.

Nadal: ‘I am little bit more than Ash Barty’

Rafael Nadal has fired a parting shot at Ashleigh Barty, reminding the tennis world where Australia's world No.1 stands in the grand slam pecking order.

While Barty's All-England Club campaign shuddered to a premature halt on Court Two, Nadal was given centre court billing.

"I am the world No. 2 and I won 18 grand slams," he joked when asked if the Barty should have been on centre.

 

 

"My answer is not no or yes. My answer is they (officials) make a decision. You are putting Ashleigh Barty in front of me. For me, both decisions are good.

"In the world of tennis today, honestly, my feeling is today I am little bit more than Ashleigh Barty, even if Ashleigh Barty is the [number one player] in the world and she already won the French Open and she is playing unbelievable.

"But we can't create polemics every single day about decisions that they have to take. At the end of the day they have to make a decision.

"A day like today, everybody is playing, of course (Novak) Djokovic is not playing in the centre court.

"For me the first day [of the tournament] I have been playing in the Court One. I played in Suzanne Lenglen in Roland Garros, if I'm not wrong, in the second round.

"Every day is a decision. We cannot create polemics about that.

"Court No. 2, OK, they have to make decisions. Today they probably decided that. They have another girls playing on the centre court now."

Rafael Nadal was in sparkling form during his fourth round match.
Rafael Nadal was in sparkling form during his fourth round match.

 

Barty was typically diplomatic about the "Manic Monday" crush on a program which features 16 fourth-round men's and women's singles matches.

"I think obviously scheduling is very difficult," she said.

"There are so many incredible matches all the fans and all the people want to watch, and players want to be a part of.

"For us, the tennis court is the same size. The surroundings change, yes. They're a little bit different. No matter what court you're scheduled on, it shouldn't matter how you approach the match or play. It certainly doesn't for me.

"Court 2 is a beautiful court here … I enjoyed my time out there."

Barty's doubles partner Victoria Azarenka is leading the call for more women's matches to be staged on Centre Court and Court 1.

The fourth round program featured two men's matches on centre and one on Court 1.

There was one women's match on centre and two on Court 1.

Serena Williams said: "Of course, the women's matches aren't pushed as much as the men's matches to be on the marquee courts.

"I think there are some players that are pushed more than others.

"Like you said, with what I believe, just trying to get equality for women to be treated the same way, it's important to have those voices like Vika's voice to be loud."