ARE we about to see the end of another glittering career?

After Roger, is time for Rafa to say farewell?

Only Rafa will know that, but his second round exit in Melbourne may play heavy on his mind.

Injuries at 36 are a lot harder to recover from than at 26 – and Rafa will know that.

And he is on a rough losing streak at the moment, dropping seven of his last nine matches.

He did admit to considering retirement last year, but has since stayed quiet.

Tennis fans will not want to see his forced retirement because of injuries but it is now a very distinct possibility.

“He is perhaps the best fighter, the best competitor that tennis has ever had,” Boris Becker said on Eurosport as Nadal made his exit.

“That was a landslide. We talked for a long time about the change of generations and we are seeing it live right now.”

Will he continue? He will want to – at least until Paris – where Roland Garros is his ‘home’.

Perhaps a dignified farewell on the red dirt of Paris is where Rafa will eventually admit tennis mortality.

TALKING of superstars, the third of this generation, Novak Djokovic, wasn’t happy with a Eurosport special media post during week one highlighting his conversation with an umpire during his first round clash against Roberto Carballes Baena.

Djokovic told the umpire he needs to rush to use the washroom, and walks off as the umpire tries to call his name.

He rushes back just in time as the umpire calls time, to avoid a time penalty, since the break was not his designated toilet break.

The social media caption read: “Novak Djokovic defied the umpire to take an early bathroom break in his first match at the Australian Open”.

“I didn’t “defy” her or the rules,” Djokovic responded.

“She gave me permission and told me to be quick.”

“Next time be mindful about what you post. You have a responsibility towards many sports fans that follow your page.”

Did Djokovic post this? Or was it one of his support staff?

Probably the latter, as his team has a record of criticising media posts, accusing some of “picking on him big time” after his deportation from Australia last year.

ITALIAN Camila Giorgi’s father Sergio had a dig at the media questioning of his daughter on week one of the AO, after she admitted being jabbed for Covid by a doctor being investigated for providing fake certificates.

Giorgi subsequently said she also received the Covid vaccination from another doctor and was vaccinated before she flew to Australia last January to compete in the 2022 event.

Dad, an Argentinian by birth, slammed media for asking covid questions in her round e post match media conference.

But Sergio has a chequered history at Slams, caught vaping at the French Open in May last year.

TV cameras panned to Mr Giorgi in the stands, who was having a sneaky vape.

He could be seen covering his face with a towel before blowing a puff of smoke.

And during the Italian Open in Rome he was seen “inserting himself into the conversation with the chair umpire” – quote – throughout his daughter’s clash with Sara Sorribes Tormo.

Italian doctor Daniela Grillone is under investigation by authorities for allegedly delivering fake Covid-19 vaccinations to patients, and Giorgi was a patient.

But why was Giorgi senior allowed to attend the press conference?

And why was he allowed to try and dictate to the press conference moderator what line of questioning the media should take?

NOVAK Djokovic inadvertently teamed up with Novak Kyrgios on Thursday night, accusing a group of fans of being drunk and disorderly towards him during his match against qualifier Enzo Couacaud.

Kyrgios accused a woman of being drunk at Wimbledon last year and was subsequently sued by the woman, a lawyer. He later apologised and made a donation to charity for his comments.

But Djokovic complained to their chair umpire about four fans dressed in Where’s Wally costumes who repeatedly harrassed him.

The fans booed and jeered in between first and second serves prompting Djokovic to hit back, saying “Shut up! Thank you!”

‘You know who it is. The guy is drunk out of his mind. From the first point he has been provoking,” Djokovic complained to the umpire.

“He is not here to watch tennis. He just wants to get in my head

“So I am asking you, what are you going to do about it. You heard him at least 10 times. I heard him 50 times.

“Why don’t you get security guards, get him out of the stadium?”

The four were eventually told to leave.

EXHAUSTED fans brave enough to get through the Murray-Kokkinakis marathon at Melbourne Park on Friday morning faced another dilemma as they left the arena in search of a taxi home.

According to reports on Australia’s ABC network, tax drivers had turned off their meters and were demanding extortionate fees of rides home.

One woman said a driver was asking for $125 to go 19 kilometres from the venue for what officials said would normally be about a $45 fare.

AN Australian Open fan caused disruption on Eurosport’s coverage of day four of the event as he was were caught live on TV making a lewd gesture behind the back of presenter Barbara Schett.

Schett was standing in the middle of Melbourne Park previewing the day’s tennis on Thursday when the fan was spotted behind her making the gesture.

MAYBE Rafa Nadal did have a point when he criticised the balls being used at the Open.

Now others have joined in, including Novak Djokovic.

“The longer you play, the more rallies you play, the fluffier or the bigger the ball becomes and it’s slower,” Djokovic said after beating Roberto Carballes Baena in his opening match on Tuesday.

And sixth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime also pointed his finger at the balls.

He told a chair umpire: “I don’t want to complain about it, but the balls are not bouncing.”

The weather and temperatures can affect bounce, as can indoor or outdoor surfaces and conditions

BALLKIDS are not paid at the Australian Open, despite being paid at the US Open and Wimbledon.

Should there be paid? The response to that question has been mixed during the week as woke social media warriors had their say.

Around 2,500 under 18s apply to be a ballkid every year. They apply, they are not coerced.

About 20 percent get through the tough application and training process and many see it as a dream come true. – but to be paid?

Social media, of course, took up the story with all its usual unbalanced views.

“How is this not child exploitation?” one post questioned on a US site called Reddit.

“It isn’t unreasonable to suggest the ballkids get paid for their time,” another said.

So, back to facts… Wimbledon’s ballkids get a flat payment of £200 a week ($351).

Ballkids at the US Open receive what has been termed as the New York minimum wage of around $15 an hour.

Fair enough, but given there is no shortage of volunteers for the role and they are not coerced into applying, this is hardly exploitation.