Nadal renews attack on hard courts

Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:20am EST
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By Andrew Downie

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Former world number one Rafa Nadal has renewed his attack on hard courts as he prepares for the second tournament on his comeback trail at the Brazil Open.

The 26-year-old Spaniard, who returned to competitive action at the Chile Open last week after a left knee condition sidelined him for seven months, said the number of tournaments played on hard surfaces would limit players' careers.

He also criticized a move to speed up matches by strictly enforcing the 20-second rule between points at grand slams.

"Hard courts are aggressive on the knees, back and ankles," the 11-times grand slam champion, told reporters in Sao Paulo.

"That is a theme among the players and doctors. To make a change like that (reduce the amount of hard court events) it won't be possible in this generation but I think that the ATP has to work to think of how to lengthen tennis players' careers.

"Can you imagine football players playing on cement?"

Nadal has often been criticized for the length of time he takes between points but warnings for slow play have been few and far between.

ATP chiefs recently agreed that umpires would be expected to enforce the 20-seconds between points rule at grand slams, prompting criticism from leading players.   Continued...

Spain's tennis player Rafael Nadal attends a news conference in Sao Paulo February 12, 2013. Nadal is in Brazil for the Brasil Open 2013 tournament. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker