French Open champion Nadal was heavily criticised last week after a stormy third-round clash against Roger Soderling who accused him of time-wasting throughout.
And now Roger Rasheed, who worked with Hewitt for four years, has stoked up the controversy further by claiming Nadal not only breaks the rules during matches but also bullies opponents beforehand.
Rasheed rapped: “In the locker room Rafa is very intense. He’s always running around and trying to apply the intimidation factor.
“The referee can come in and say ‘We’re ready to play’ but sure enough he just has to go to the toilet one more time and then sits there making his opponent wait for another minute.
“That’s part of his persona but it’s up to the opposition and the officials not to let it happen.
“Whenever Lleyton played Rafa, I’d have a word with the umpire to make sure that after the coin toss he’d warn him about the time issue.
“Rafa used to get upset about this. He doesn’t like referees speaking to him in this manner. But the rules must be enforced.”
Whether No. 2 seed Nadal employed any such tactics in yesterday’s victory over Djokovic is unclear.
Only joking, of course. The fact Djokovic’s previous two matches had lasted 10 hours was the real reason for retiring midway through yesterday’s semi-final.
Locked at one-set-all but trailing 1-4 in the third, the marathon man from Belgrade clearly could not go on.
The pain in his swollen, blistered left foot was just too much – and so he understandably called time on his sensational fortnight.
“I am sad but the injury was stronger than me. I didn’t want to make it worse.”
When he broke Nadal at the first attempt and took the opening set 6-3, it seemed Djokovic might be on course for his second win in six attempts against the Mallorca powerhouse.
But that was to discount Nadal’s resilience and he hit back to take the next set 6-1, breaking serve three times.
The third set was an identical story with Nadal storming ahead with two more breaks before Djokovic quit.
He added: “I will give it my best and believe I can do it.”