MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (AP) - Rafael Nadal has criticized Roger Federer for letting other players “burn themselves” by complaining about tour conditions while maintaining his good reputation by rarely making negative comments about tennis.
The two have always been respectful rivals, but the ongoing debate about the overcrowded tennis calendar has exposed a difference of opinion on the eve of the Australian Open.
After telling a pre-tournament news conference Sunday he had no intention of being the frontman for the players’ grievances because it has reflected badly on him in the past, Nadal was then critical of 16-time Grand Slam winner Federer in a Spanish-language interview.
“No, I totally disagree,” he said in comments translated from Spanish. “For him it’s good to say nothing. Everything positive. ‘It’s all well and good for me, I look like a gentleman,’ and the rest can burn themselves.
“Everyone is entitled to have their own opinions.”
Nadal and No. 4-ranked Andy Murray are among the players who have been outspoken in recent months on issues including an overcrowded calendar and the scheduling of Davis Cup matches. Some players have talked of strike action as recently as Saturday’s player meeting in Melbourne; Nadal has said players may have to resort to “strong action” if there isn’t an “evolution” in the calendar.
They’re both key ambassadors for the tour, helping with promotional work and appearances at tournaments around the globe.
Nadal thinks that when players highlight problems on the tour, the intention is to make it better, not run it down.
“He (Federer) likes the circuit. I like the circuit,” Nadal said. “It’s much better than many other sports but that doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be better. It doesn’t mean there are some things about the tour that could change. The tour is fine, but there are some things that are bad. That’s all we’re saying.
“And the vast majority of players have this same opinion. He’s got a different opinion … if the vast majority have one opinion, and a small minority think differently, maybe it’s them who are wrong.”
No. 2-ranked Nadal has the last match on Hisense Arena _ the second show court at Melbourne Park _ against Russian Alex Kuznetsov.View Entire Story
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