After joining Nadal in the second round of the Australian Open with a win on Monday, Federer said “things are fine” between the two longtime rivals, although he concedes that they disagree on a way to resolve a list of player grievances that includes the length of the season and the distribution of prize money.
“Today he’s much more grown up. He has a strong opinion himself, which I think is great.”
“Probably I am wrong telling that to (the media), especially because these things can stay, must stay in the locker room,” Nadal said.
The rift emerged following a player meeting on Saturday that sparked talk of a possible strike for the second time in six months.
“He don’t want to do anything, he just try to be an outsider from this one.”
However, Federer said his reluctance to speak out shouldn’t be construed as a lack of support.
“I was in the meeting. I completely understand and support the players’ opinions,” Federer said. “I just have a different way of going at it. I’m not discussing it with you guys in the press room. It creates unfortunately sometimes negative stories.”
The players plan to meet again at the Indian Wells Masters tournament in March when they will assess how much progress has been made before deciding on a course of action.
“(Strike) is such a dangerous word to use,” Federer said. “It’s not good for anyone really. We’ve seen it in other sports happening in the States. That’s why I’m always very careful about it.
“If there’s no avoiding it, I’ll support the rest of the players. But I just think we have to think it through how we do it, if we do it, can we do it, whatever it is, instead of just going out and screaming about it.”
Federer said there are “two or three” big issues that the players have been discussing. They include the length of the season and prize money at Grand Slam tournaments, which some players believe has not increased proportionately with growing profits.
American John Isner said he had been to the meeting and felt the players had a “legitimate beef” over prize money, which is also an issue at the Indian Wells tournament, where Davydenko said those players who lose in the first round can sometimes lose money after paying tax and travel costs to compete.
“I do not talk anymore,” he said. “Yesterday (Sunday), I started, and I say I don’t want to talk anymore about this. Finally I talked too much as usual. That’s not going to happen again. You can try hard, but I’m going to talk about tennis.”
AP Sports Writer John Pye contributed to this report.