Monte Carlo Masters: Rafael Nadal infuriated by umpire's crackdown on his slow play

The Spaniard has frequently been criticised for the time he takes as he goes through his pre-serving routines

Tennis correspondent

Rafael Nadal took just 72 minutes to make a winning start at the Monte Carlo Masters, but the world No 1 was still not quick enough for the umpire. Pascal Maria infuriated Nadal by giving him a time violation for taking too long between points during his 6-4, 6-1 victory over Russia's Teymuraz Gabashvili.

Players are allowed 25 seconds between points on the men's tour, which is five seconds more than they are granted at Grand Slam events. Umpires have cracked down on slow play in recent years and Nadal has been one of those to suffer. The Spaniard has frequently been criticised for the time he takes as he goes through his pre-serving routines.

Maria penalised Nadal when he served at 4-0 and 30-40 in the second set. The world No 1 was clearly unhappy about the decision and went on to drop his serve when he hit a forehand long. After some finger-pointing at the umpire, nevertheless, he came out and won the next two games to complete his victory.

Nadal, who also dropped his serve at the start of the match as the aggressive Gabashvili made a flying start, is attempting to win the Monte Carlo title for the ninth time. His run of eight successive victories at the tournament ended when he lost to Novak Djokovic in last year's final.

Roger Federer also got off to a winning start, beating Radek Stepanek 6-1, 6-2 in just under an hour. The former world No 1 made a late decision to take a wild card this week, perhaps anticipating that he will need to miss a tournament in the coming weeks to be at the birth of his third child.

Federer, who has not disclosed the date when his wife Mirka is expecting, has not missed a Grand Slam tournament since 1999 but hinted that he would even contemplate withdrawing from the French Open, which starts on 25 May.

"We're just waiting – it's a priority for me trying to be there, trying to support my wife," he said. "I've played enough tennis matches. Missing a tournament or missing a match wouldn't change anything for me."

Stanislas Wawrinka, who has replaced Federer as Swiss No 1, played his best match since winning the Australian Open three months ago as he destroyed Marin Cilic 6-0, 6-2 in just 45 minutes. Wawrinka, who dropped only seven points in taking the first set in 18 minutes, has not reached a quarter-final since his Melbourne triumph.

Meanwhile, Laura Robson could be a doubtful starter for the French Open and even Wimbledon because of continuing problems with a wrist injury. The 20-year-old Briton has not played for three months and has now pulled out of two more tournaments, in Morocco next week and in Madrid early next month.

Having reached a career-high position at No 27 in the world rankings last summer, Robson is now down to No 64 as a result of her inactivity.

Judy Murray, Britain's Fed Cup captain, said she did not know when Robson would return. "You can't rush that kind of injury," Murray said. "Psychologically it's a difficult one because everything in tennis goes through your wrist."

News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Parker says: 'I once had a taster use the phrase 'smells like the sex glands of a lemming'. Who in the world can relate to that?'
food + drinkRobert Parker's 100-point scale is a benchmark of achievement for wine-makers everywhere
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing