Rafael Nadal called on ATP chiefs to be fairer to their star players by providing a different surface each year for their flagship World Tour Finals.
Rafael Nadal calls on tour to consider variety of surfaces for ATP Finals
LONDON // Rafael Nadal called on ATP chiefs to be fairer to their star players by providing a different surface each year for their flagship World Tour Finals.
The world No 1 is unhappy that the prestigious season-ending event has been staged indoors on hard courts for the past nine years, with the tournament held at Shanghai and then at London’s O2 Arena since 2009.
The Spaniard on Monday said that playing only on indoor hard courts is unfair to players who proved their class by qualifying for the eight-man competition on a variety of surfaces throughout the year.
Nadal, who opens with No 3 David Ferrer on Tuesday, suggested playing the tournament outdoors on a different surface each year, giving clay, grass and hard-court specialists at least one good chance to win every few years.
Year-end exhaustion is not the only reason he has not played particularly well at this event, he said.
“It is not only fatigue,” he said. “One of the small reasons was fatigue, one of the main reasons was I have never been a fantastic player on the indoor surface. Also, I have been unlucky.
“The Tour Finals have been indoors from 2005 until now, so I am a bit unlucky with this. For me, it is more fair to have it outdoors on different surfaces.
“In this tournament, we qualify by playing on all surfaces, but the Tour Finals are always on hard courts.”
Nadal insisted he has no problems with the standard of the facilities at London or the quality of the tournament as a whole.
Still, it clearly grated on him that he has never won the Tour Finals, reaching the final just once, in 2010, when he was defeated by six-time champion Roger Federer, whose game is far more suited to the quicker indoor conditions.
Given that the Tour Finals has been staged on either hard courts or carpet for all but one of its 43 editions, Nadal’s wish may never be granted.
It has never been played on clay – eight-time French Open champion Nadal’s preferred surface – and with the O2 Arena contracted to host the Tour Finals until at least 2015, there is no chance of any immediate change to an event that was last staged outdoors in Houston in 2004.
“I know it won’t happen in my generation. It’s not for me.
“I say it for the next generation and because it would be interesting for the fans,” Nadal said. “This is a great place to play. I have never been to a tournament with a better atmosphere, but that doesn’t mean the ATP can’t be a little bit more fair with the players.
“We could change every year to play it on the surfaces we qualify for the Finals.
“That means, for example, a good clay-court player would have the chance to play on his best surface.”
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