Tennis politics saps Rafael Nadal
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Rafael Nadal says his belief that too many tournaments are played on hard courts hasn't changed with his success on the surface this year — he's simply given up trying to change the system. The Spaniard, who retook the No. 1 ranking from Novak Djokovic on Monday, has compiled a 27-1 record on hard courts this year, including capturing his second US Open crown and three Masters titles.
His dominance on the surface has been the most surprising part of his comeback from a seven-month layoff due to a left knee injury, which many believed would limit his action on hard courts.
Nadal said on Tuesday at the Shanghai Masters, he still believes too many tournaments are on hard courts, but he's done trying to influence ATP policymakers.
"I am really out of politics, and I don't want to be involved in politics of tennis anymore. I know even if you have strong ideas and even if you believe the changes are possible, I know there is always a wall there that is impossible to go over," he said.
The 13-time Grand Slam winner has long advocated a shorter tournament schedule and more events on clay to lessen the wear on players' bodies and prevent career-threatening injuries like the kind he's struggled with in recent years.
"I say because it's something that I think it is going to be fair for the next generations if they are able to play (on) an easier surface for the body, to try to have a longer career, to try to be more healthy when they finish (their) careers," he said, adding that he probably won't be lucky enough to have that.
Djokovic said later he shares Nadal's frustrations. "It's been over five years that we all have been trying in different ways to effect some things regarding the schedule, tournaments, different formats," he said. "But the system is rooted inside. It's very difficult to change.