Nadal wants Australian Open to start later


Melbourne: Rafael Nadal would like to see the Australian Open start later in the year to allow players more down time, but admits it is not likely to happen.

From the end of season ATP Tour Finals to the start of the new year, many of the top players barely had five weeks off before having to start all over again.

Roger Federer revealed that he took just eight days off during the off-season, with exhibitions and other commitments narrowing his free time considerably.

He was sensationally knocked out of the Australian Open on Friday in the third round by unseeded Italian Andreas Seppi.

Nadal said it was natural for players who travel the world constantly to want to stay at home with family around the Christmas and New Year period, but most have tournaments starting early January to prepare for Melbourne.

The Spanish world number three, who is on the comeback trail after a three-month injury layoff, said it would be better to start the opening Grand Slam of the year later, perhaps in February.

“For us, it is important to spend the new year at home. It important to spend Christmas at home with family. Those dates are very important,” he said.

“Players have family, players have small kids. You want to spend that time with them.

“With this calendar, it is tough to have and enjoy this period of time with your family. It is true that if we went two weeks (later), it would be better.”

He also said playing just one warm-up tournament ahead of a gruelling Grand Slam was not ideal.

“Two tournaments would be the right period of time before the tournament to play,” he said, while admitting that for all the talk, nothing would change.

“Today we are talking for talking, because I don`t see a change in that calendar for the future.”

Calls to change the dates of the massively popular Australian Open have been raised in the past, but dismissed with the tournament falling during the school holidays, guaranteeing huge crowds and a party atmosphere.

Nadal, who battled dizzy spells and stomach cramps in an epic five-set second round match at Melbourne Park, plays big-hitting South African Kevin Anderson for a place in the quarter-finals on Sunday.