NEW YORK // As new members of the ATP player council, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal look primed to start making changes off the court -- with possible player prize money increases queued up as job number one. "I know that tournaments all around the world are raising prize money more and more," four-time US Open winner Federer said on Friday. "We're obviously very happy where tennis has gone over 40 years ago, so that's a good thing. But I agree that I still think the biggest tournaments, (Grand Slams) are supposed to share a little bit more with the players."
The Swiss diplomat added: "We'll see how it goes in the future. "We'll definitely have conversations over the next year or so, as we usually have. There's a quite a bit of change in the ATP at the moment. I think that's one of the issues on top of the agenda." Federer, Nadal and world number three Novak Djokovic also easily clinched spots on the 10-man board at the last round of annual summer elections.
The three had voiced concern over changes to the 2009 schedule and the elimination of Hamburg as an elite Masters Series event, but while major changes like the substitution of Madrid on clay for Hamburg and the addition of Shanghai as a new elite Masters 1000 event, modifications have been modest. But that didn't stop Nadal from chiming on what he still considers a crowded spring clay schedule. "The biggest problem always is the same. It's the European clay season. They always put there Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome straight (after each other). That's unbelievable, no?
"It's very tough for play for the European players, and for the clay court specialist players." But overall, the world number one gave tacit approval: "I think it is OK, the calendar is not bad, no?" * AFP