Not for the first time, Rafael Nadal has bemoaned the playing surface at the ATP Finals.
But his comments haven’t been met with a great deal of support – particularly not from Roger Federer or Pat Cash.
The season-ending event has, for almost its entire existence dating back to 1970, been staged indoors, on either carpet or more recently hard courts.
In seven appearances Nadal has yet to win the tournament, considered the most prestigious trophy behind the four Grand Slams.
And he believes the playing surface has something to do with it.
“I believe that it’s not fair that a player like me really never played on a surface that was a little bit more favourable. I always played on the worst surface possible for me,” Nadal said.
“If it’s indoor at the 02, then great, but you can build a different type of surface there … we can play on clay there too.”
Federer, however, was having none of it.
“It’s not the time of the year for clay, so there you have it,” Federer said.
“I think it’s right and fair that it’s indoors as well. There is no Masters 1000s on grass. There is one Masters 1000 indoors: Paris. So I feel like indoors also deserves its place.
“Could it be switched up to clay once in a while? Yeah, maybe. Could we have more 1000s on grass? Yeah, we could have that, too. Could we have more on hard courts, less on clay? Yes, it’s all debatable.”
Wimbledon champion Cash added this was not the first time he’d heard Nadal complain about this issue.
“You can’t just switch surface like that with no time to transition and with injuries being so prevalent in the game at the moment, a lot of people would get hurt going back to clay for just one week,” Cash told the Sunday Times.
“I praise Rafael Nadal, I applaud all his achievements but cannot help but think, when he finally quits, there will be a big gap in his record (by not winning the ATP Finals).
“Playing indoor tournaments needs a special kind of concentration when you are not sure whether it is day or night outside. It can be draining and everybody likes fresh air now and again.”
Nadal begins his 2017 ATP Finals campaign against David Goffin on Monday.
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