A day after publicly criticizing Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal opened up to say he regrets his words over concerns of the ATP circuit and comments made about Federer. The Spaniard admitted he should have told his thoughts to Federer directly and privately, rather than to the media. He further said he would never speak about the issues in public again.
“What I said, I said. Probably I am wrong telling that to you [the press], especially because these things can stay, must stay, in the locker room.”
“I always had fantastic relationship with Roger. I still have fantastic relationship with Roger. That’s what should be, in my opinion. Don’t create crazy histories about what I said yesterday, please, just because we can have different views about how the tour needs to work. That’s all.”
“I do not talk anymore,” he said. “Yesterday (Sunday), I started, and I say I don’t want to talk anymore about this. Finally I talked too much as usual. That’s not going to happen again. You can try hard, but I’m going to talk about tennis.”
Federer, after his first round victory Monday night, was asked about Rafa’s remarks. His response was described by journalist Christopher Clarey on Twitter as, “Federer handling this sensitive presser like a professional diplomat.”
Federer responded concisely and neutrally, saying “things are fine” between the two longtime rivals, although he concedes that they disagree on a way to resolve a list of player grievances that includes the length of the season and the distribution of prize money.
“We can’t always agree on everything,” Federer said. “So far it’s always been no problem really. Back in the day he (Nadal) used to say, ‘Whatever Roger decides, I’m fine with.’
“Today he’s much more grown up. He has a strong opinion himself, which I think is great.”
Federer addressed Rafa’s comments saying he is reluctant to show support for the players. The Swiss maestro prefers keeping talks private rather than public as the route Nadal took.
“I was in the meeting. I completely understand and support the players’ opinions,” Federer said. “I just have a different way of going at it. I’m not discussing it with you guys in the press room. It creates unfortunately sometimes negative stories.”
Nikolay Davydenko spoke regarding these issues and called out Federer, but in an overplayed story, the Russian’s words focused on his concerns over prize money at grand slams. The 2012 season has been shortened by two weeks. Davydenko is not in favor of further shortening the season. Federer was thoroughly asked about Davydenko’s comments and rumors of a strike.
“(Strike) is such a dangerous word to use,” Federer said. “It’s not good for anyone really. We’ve seen it in other sports happening in the States. That’s why I’m always very careful about it.
“If there’s no avoiding it, I’ll support the rest of the players. But I just think we have to think it through how we do it, if we do it, can we do it, whatever it is, instead of just going out and screaming about it.”
John Isner said he had been to the meeting and felt players had “legitimate beef” over prize money. The players will meet again at the Indian Wells tournament in March. Federer said he was confident “a good solution” would be reached and he welcomes a healthy debate.
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