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Nadal takes pop at 'fresh as a daisy' Federer

ESPN staff
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The demands of the game are taking their toll on Rafael Nadal © PA Photos
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Rafael Nadal has taken a swipe at long-time rival Roger Federer for failing to back him and other players who are challenging the current tennis calendar.

Nadal has been joined by a number of other players, including Andy Murray, in voicing concerns over the demanding schedule. There are worries the present itinerary is leaving players drained and increasing the risk of injury - as was highlighted at last year's US Open, where a host of players abandoned matches due to fitness concerns.

At Flushing Meadows Federer said there were "a whole lot of issues to be sorted out" with the Grand Slams and the International Tennis Federation, but the 16-time grand slam champion, who is president of the ATP Player Council, has not aired his views in the time since.

Speaking ahead of the Australian Open, Nadal told a press conference he is unhappy the Swiss maestro has not used his status within the game to help his colleagues in pushing for changes. He said: "I disagree with him.

"His [position] is easy: do not say anything, all positive, I am a 'gentleman', others get burned. We each have our opinion and maybe he likes the circuit. Me too, I like it, and I think it's better than most sports. That does not mean you cannot be better and that you should change things that are bad.

"I say a lot of good things about tennis, because thanks to this sport I have had experiences in my life I could never have dreamed of, but to finish your career with pain in all areas of your body is not positive.

"He finishes his career as fresh as a daisy because he is physically privileged, but neither Murray nor [Novak] Djokovic and I are fresh as a daisy."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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