| By Steven Kaplan

Fourteen-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal criticized Spain's female Davis Cup captain Gala Leon for feeding a "false and absurd" debate. He said, "It seems strange to me as Davis Cup captain that instead of seeking union and harmony between players, captains and federations, she has incited and fed a debate that is totally false and absurd."

Back in September Nadal's coach and uncle Toni Nadal questioned Leon's appointment as Spain's first female Davis Cup captain by saying, "It was 'preferable that [the captain] is someone with a background in the world of men's tennis."

Apparently Uncle Toni believes in stepping off the wrong foot with backhanded comments, as well as strokes as he was widely criticized in Spain for making a thinly veiled misogynist comment by Spanish politicians as well as the press.

Leon responded by saying, "I'm not going to ask forgiveness for being a woman." 

Anyone who has spent time around children recognizes Rafa's comments as the classic "You started it, why do you care so much?" argument.

Seems like Rafa believes that he and Uncle Toni get to speak their minds and no one else does by claiming that Leon's comments have "incited" a "false" sexism debate.

Of course everyone is entitled to their option, but maybe Rafa would be well-served to let his racket do the talking from now on.

Steven Kaplan

Steve Kaplan is the owner and managing director of Bethpage Park Tennis Center, as well as director emeritus of Lacoste Academy for New York City Parks Foundation, and executive director and founder of Serve &Return Inc. Steve has coached more than 1,100 nationally- ranked junior players, 16 New York State high school champions, two NCAA Division 1 Singles Champions, and numerous highly-ranked touring professionals. Many of the students Steve has closely mentored have gone to achieve great success as prominent members of the New York financial community, and in other prestigious professions. In 2017, Steve was awarded the Hy Zausner Lifetime Achievement Award by the USTA. He may be reached by e-mail at StevenJKaplan@aol.com.