Nadal Says ATP Should Vary Surface for World Tour Tennis FinalsBen Priechenfried
No. 1 tennis player Rafael Nadal says the ATP World Tour Finals should use surfaces other than indoor hard courts occasionally to give a range of players an opportunity to win the season-ending tournament.
The Spaniard, whose game is best suited to slower clay courts, has played in the ATP event five times, with his best performance a loss in the 2010 final to six-time winner Roger Federer. Those competitions were all on indoor hard courts.
The tournament, which brings together the top eight ranked men, started today in London. It’s been held on indoor hard courts since 2006, with the 2005 event held in Shanghai on an indoor carpet. The 2003 and 2004 finals in Houston were the last ones held outdoors, also on hard courts.
“That’s not the best for me,” the Spaniard, who’s qualified for the ATP event each year since 2006 although he’s missed three because of injury, said today at a press conference. “Probably I was a little bit unlucky in this, because in the past the tournament was held outdoors.”
Nadal will play his first of three round-robin matches tomorrow, against compatriot David Ferrer, a 31-year-old who beat him in the indoor Paris Masters semifinals two days ago.
“The stadium is one of the best stadiums that I ever played,” Nadal, 27, said of London’s O2 Arena. “The atmosphere has been great every time that I’ve been here, but that doesn’t mean the ATP can’t be a little bit more fair. Something that would be more fair for all the players would be to change the surface every year.”
Defending champion Novak Djokovic, who lost his No. 1 spot to Nadal this month, said tour administrators should vary the location of the season finale to boost tennis’s popularity.
“This tournament should definitely be organized at different places more often, and not be held in one city for more than three years,” the 26-year-old Serb told reporters. “It is in the ATP’s hands. I know that various players share the same opinion.”
Djokovic will also play his first match tomorrow, against Switzerland’s Roger Federer, 32.