Nadal calls for shorter tennis season to avoid injury

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Players need more time off to avoid injury, says the Spanish player who has just claim his first Australian Open title.

MELBOURNE – New Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal on Monday called for a shorter tennis season and less hard court tournaments, saying players needed more time off to avoid injury.

The Spanish world number one, who won the title here on Sunday in five sets over Roger Federer, saw his spectacular 2008 campaign end prematurely when he retired from the Paris Masters with knee tendinitis in October.

"I worry about the tour more than I worry about myself because life after tennis continues," Nadal said one day after winning his first hard court Grand Slam.

The 22-year-old Spaniard said hard courts were "tougher than grass or clay for the body, and all the time we are playing more on this surface."

"In my humble opinion, we have to change that a bit more," he told reporters, refuting suggestions that he was complaining because he is known as more of a clay court specialist.

"When I say this, I think about the best for the players and for the future. It's not possible to have a lot of injuries on tour like this. So we have to try to change something."

Nadal, whose win on Sunday was his sixth major title in just 20 Grand Slam appearances, said he wanted to play fewer tournaments on the ATP Tour.

"To play with this aggression and with this rhythm all the time from the 1 January to the 31 of December is impossible," he told reporters.

Nadal is now the holder of three of the sport's four Grand Slam trophies, after adding the Australian Open title to his French Open and Wimbledon successes of last season. Federer won the US Open last year.

The Spaniard also won the Olympic gold medal in Beijing in 2008 and finished the season with a tour-best 46-10 record on hard courts.

[AFP / Expatica]

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