Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal is known as the all-around nice guy on tour, alongside his rival and friend, Roger Federer. However, the Spaniard showed a rare moment of irritation when a journalist at the US Open accused him of pushing past the regulations during his first round victory over Australia's Rinky Hijikata.

The 22-time Grand Slam champion lost the first set 4-6 before coming back to win the next three sets, 6-2, 6-3, 6-3. He was clearly not as comfortable on court at Flushing Meadows as he would have liked, especially with the heat and humidity. Furthermore, his serves were clearly played with less force thanks to the fact that he had just come out from a series of injuries to his ribs and abdomen.

During the post-match press conference, one of the journalists insisted that Nadal was overstepping the rules when it comes to the length of time he took between serves. He also hinted that the umpire was letting the Spaniard off too easily.

Nadal was clearly livid, saying "I think it's a joke." He then pointed out that it is not true that he has always been able to escape penalties, but they were never for unsportsmanlike behaviour. "I've been given many warnings in my career as a tennis player but never for breaking a racket, never for making a mess on court," he added, as quoted by Marca.

Clearly annoyed, he went on to talk about the humidity on court and why he takes a long time to wipe himself down during matches. "When you play in these humid conditions you sweat a lot," he said.

He further addressed the accusation that match officials are more lenient when it comes to him. He slammed the journalist's comments by saying that he is not guilty of wasting time while playing, and that umpires do not treat him differently compared to other players.

This has been an ongoing discussion when it comes to Nadal, who is well-known for his rituals on the court. He is very particular even with the way his water bottles are arranged on the ground next to his bench. Before he serves, he also has some quirks that shave off a few seconds from the clock. Some opponents have previously argued that umpires sometimes turn a blind eye when he goes a few seconds past the clock.

Rafael Nadal
Battling through: Rafael Nadal celebrates his win over Australia's Rinky Hijikata AFP / COREY SIPKIN