Carlos Alcaraz has condemned Luis Rubiales’ behaviour at the Women’s World Cup final, saying it was a ‘shame’ Spain’s triumph was overshadowed by the scandal involving the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).
Rubiales has been at the centre of a storm of controversy since he kissed Spain star Jennifer Hermoso on the lips after La Roja won the Women’s World Cup final earlier this month in Sydney.
Rubiales told officials he asked permission to kiss Hermoso, who was said to have responded to say he could give her ‘a little peck’.
The player, however, has steadfastly refused this version of events.
‘I want to clarify, that at no time did I consent to the kiss,’ Hermoso said in a statement last week.
Carlos Alcaraz has condemned Luis Rubiales’ behaviour at the Women’s World Cup final
Rubiales (right) kissed Jennifer Hermoso as she collected her medal after Spain beat England in the Women’s World Cup final earlier this month
‘I don’t tolerate that my word is questioned, much less that words are invented that I haven’t said.’
Speaking after his walkover win over Dominik Koepfer in the first round of the US Open, Alcaraz criticised Rubiales’ actions.
‘I have followed the matter. Obviously it is something that has caused a lot of talk, I think in Spain much more,’ he said.
‘My opinion is that it is not behaviour that should be shown by someone in a high position.
‘That’s the only opinion that I am going to give on the matter.’
Alcaraz, who will surrender the world No1 ranking to Novak Djokovic when the rankings are updated on September 11, expressed his disappointment the scandal had taken spotlight away from Spain’s exploits on the pitch.
‘We hope it is resolved soon because the women’s team has achieved something historic and that they have not been given as much credit for what they’ve done, which is a shame,’ he added.
Rubiales has also been criticised for grabbing his crotch in front of Spain’s Queen Letizia and her teenage daughter Sofia, which he has since apologised for, but has defiantly refused to resign from his post as the head of the RFEF.
Alcaraz said it was a shame the scandal engulfing Rubiales had taken the spotlight away from Spain’s historic Women’s World Cup triumph
Rubiales has held onto his role, despite being asked by the Spanish FA to step down
Spanish FA chiefs have called on Rubiales to resign with immediate effect with FIFA pushing to ban the official from all football for 15 years amid the scandal, having already imposed a provisional suspension.
All 23 members of Spain’s victorious World Cup squad signed a statement refusing to play until the 46-year-old was sacked, following his stunning refusal to quit during an emergency assembly on Friday.
Hermoso, meanwhile, has received widespread support from players and fans.
Over the weekend, Atletico Madrid Women’s players held a banner reading ‘With you Jennifer Hermoso’ ahead of their Copa de la Reina match against AC Milan.
Hermoso received a standing ovation as she watched from the stands as her former club beat Milan 1-0.
On the same day, Sevilla players showed their support by wearing t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase ‘it’s over’ ahead of their LaLiga defeat to Girona.
Cadiz players, meanwhile, walked onto the pitch holding a sign reading ‘We are Jenni’ ahead of their LaLiga match against Almeria.
In the US, Houston Dash players held a sign reiterating a similar message ahead of their game against Kansas City.
Alcaraz had a walkover win to the second round of the US Open after Dominik Koepfer (left) was forced to retire with the Spaniard leading 6-2 3-2
The Lionesses also rallied around Spain’s women’s football team on Saturday, with a strong statement condemning Rubiales’ behaviour as ‘unacceptable actions allowed to happen by a sexist and patriarchal organisation.’
Public support for Hermoso has reached beyond football’s traditional boundaries, with hundreds of people lining the streets of Madrid to demand Rubiales’ resignation on Monday.
Alcaraz, meanwhile, will face Lloyd Harris in the second round at Flushing Meadows after his title defence got off to a perfect start on Tuesday.
The reigning Wimbledon champion led 6-2 3-2 when Koepfer was forced to retire injured after rolling his ankle in the opening game of the match.