2/14/13 3:39 AM | Johan Lindahl
Rafael Nadal has gone on the attack against an ATP which he believes holds scant regard for player health as it continues to offer scores of knee-damaging hard-court earning opportunities each season.
The fifth-ranked Spaniard, who is making his comeback to the sport after more than half a year away with knee problems, charges that the calendar composition is shortening careers.
Nadal has dominated in the past on clay, winning a record seven Roland Garros titles and claiming trophies at almost every event of note on the surface. But he'd like to see more of his particular favorite at the expense of cement, which he now seems to detest.
"For future generations, it would be good to see a less aggressive tennis life," said the 26-year-old who once stood No. 1 in the world. "Not only because of what happens during your career, but also because of what happens after your career, about how is your body when your tennis career is over."
With a long history as a regular patient in medical treatment, the Spaniard continued his verbal offensive while hoping to kick-start his tennis return by winning a clay title this week in Sao Paulo, Brazil. "This (scheduling) is not a subject for the players, it's a matter for doctors. The ATP has to start thinking about ways to lengthen the players' careers.
"I can't imagine football players playing on cement, I can't imagine any other sport involving aggressive movements such as tennis being played on such aggressive surfaces such as ours. We are the only sport in the world making this mistake, and it won't change.
"The ATP worries too little about the players, it should care more for them."
While he was at it, Nadal also let loose with his thoughts on enforcement of the 25-second rule of time spent between points. The notorious slow-mover missed the Australian Open, which went off basically without a hitch as the Grand Slam's even tougher 20-second rule was in the main successfully enforced without too much player pushback.
But Nadal seems determined to force the issue: "People like to see great rallies, long matches, and for that to happen, the 25 seconds are not enough, If the ATP wants a sport which is faster but doesn't take into consideration a lot of strategy or great rallies, then it's right doing this. I think the players in the locker rooms are not very happy with that rule."
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Great Britain, United Kingdom