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MADRID - Rafael Nadal's uncle and coach, Toni Nadal, has called spectators at the Roland Garros tournament in Paris "stupid" for cheering the world number one's elimination from the event at the weekend.
"I think the Parisian public is so stupid," he said in an interview with news radio Cadena Ser broadcast late on Monday, a day after Nadal's four-year Roland Garros reign came to an end at the hands of Sweden's Robin Soderling.
"The triumph of a Spaniard upsets them. What seems uncalled for is supporting the defeat of someone. It is not a very satisfying way to be happy," he added.
Nadal, who was seeking a record fifth consecutive title, crashed to a fourth round 6-2 6-7 6-4 7-6 defeat to the Swedish 23rd seed. It was his first ever defeat at Roland Garros after winning all of his 31 matches since his 2005 debut.
"He played very badly. He was more nervous than usual, lacking confidence and his shots lacked precision," said Toni.
In another interview with radio Onda Cero, he said the French "are a bit jealous of the Spanish" because no French player has won Roland Garros since Yannick Noah in 1983.
"I suppose that it annoys them to see that Spain is constantly producing very good players," he said.
Meanwhile, French tennis fans will be facing a tough choice when Roger Federer takes on Gael Monfils in the quarter-finals today.
On the one hand, they have the lone remaining home hope to finally put an end to 26 years of French frustration at Roland Garros since Yannick Noah won in 1983.
But on the other, they have the most popular player in the game who needs just a win here on Sunday to go down in history as the greatest player of all time.
"I hope they're going to support me. I'm French. We're in France," said Monfils who destroyed Andy Roddick in straight sets on Monday to make it through to the last eight. - Sapa/AFP