Eleven-time Grand Slam event singles champion Rafael Nadal, who missed seven months of competition because of a knee injury, says the ATP does not do enough to protect players’ health, saying the increase in hard-court events will lead to long-term injuries that will affect players after they retire.
“The ATP worries too little about the players,” Nadal told the Associated Press. “It should care more for them.”
Nadal, 26, considered the greatest clay court player of recent times, said hard courts were “too tough” on players’ bodies and made it difficult to avoid injuries. Despite that, the ATP continues to add hard-court tournaments to the schedule, instead of events on more forgiving surfaces, such as clay and grass, he said.
“For future generations, it would be good to see a less aggressive tennis life,” he said. “Not only because of what happens during your career, but also because of what happens after your career, about how is your body when your tennis career is over.
“This is not a subject for the players, it’s a matter for doctors. The ATP has to start thinking about ways to lengthen the players’ careers. I can’t imagine football players playing on cement, I can’t imagine any other sport involving aggressive movements such as tennis being played on such aggressive surfaces such as ours. We are the only sport in the world making this mistake, and it won’t change.”