Rafael Nadal Says It Isn’t Fair The ATP Finals Are Always Played Indoors On Harcourts
by Tom Gainey | November 5th, 2013, 1:30 pm
  • 78 Comments

Speaking to the press yesterday at the ATP World Tour Finals, Rafael Nadal took aim at the London event suggesting the players and fans would be better served if the the tournament rotated surfaces rather than just stay hardcourts.

The Finals have been played indoors on hardcourts in London since the outdoor event in Houston 10 years ago. And in it’s 44-year history, only once has it been played on a soft surface (1974 Melbourne – grass).

“I know it’s not going to happen for my generation,” Nadal told CNN.

“I’m talking for the future generations, something that will be a little bit fairer for the players. And I think for the fans it will be interesting to change the surface every year to the surfaces we qualified on for the (World Tour Finals).

“A good player has a chance to qualify for the (World Tour Finals) four or five times in his career, so if during this four years you have a different surface every year, a minimum one time he will have the chance to play on his favorite surface.”

Roger Federer, however, disagrees.

“I believe it should be indoor and hard,” Federer told CNN Sunday. “I know there’s an argument to have it on clay, on grass, to have it outdoors — and I did play outdoors in Houston.

“I just feel indoors doesn’t have enough play. The indoor season is small. I believe indoors deserves a huge event, which this one is.”

Fighting bad knees, Nadal has long been outspoken against the proliferation of hardcourt events on the circuit. The World No. 1 has never won the ATP World Tour Finals and of his 60 over titles, just two have come indoors.

Nadal won today avenging a Paris loss to David Ferrer. If he beats Stanislas Wawrinka tomorrow he’ll clinch the year-end No. 1 ranking.


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78 Comments for Rafael Nadal Says It Isn’t Fair The ATP Finals Are Always Played Indoors On Harcourts

Deborah Taylor (@shackle52) Says:

It’s not fair that the French Open is always on clay. Roland Garros and Bercy should switch every other year!


madmax Says:

God, how many tournaments do we have on clay? And how many tournaments take place outside? Give us a break Rafa and stop whining! hawkeye? where are you?


youyong Says:

Such haters. He didn’t say just clay and it is not a bad idea to have a change for a year end final. It was never always an indoor event.


Ben Pronin Says:

The Whiner strikes again!


Ben Pronin Says:

Oh really, youyong? When wasn’t it an indoor event? The year end championships have been around since 1970. In those 43 years, only 3 of them were held outdoors. It’s an indoor event. The outrage is that it’s hard court and not carpet.

Whine whine whine.


Patson Says:

From a factual point-of-view, there are more hardcourt tournaments than clay for sure but that’s simply because hard-courts are easier to maintain. 2 Grandslams on harcourts, ATP world tour finals on hard courts, 6 of the 9 masters are on hardcourts. But then like many other things, it really is a fact of life Rafa now. I just think there’s not much you can do about it. Hardcourts are here to stay since they are much easier to maintain.

I would like to see more grasscourt tournaments in place of some of the hardcourt tournaments. I’m an advocate of turning some of the hardcourt tourneys in the Asian swing into grasscourt tourneys. Shanghai masters can be turned into a grasscourt event.

I agree with Nole on the point that the World Tour Finals should move around the world – with due apologies to friends in London. London has done a great job in hosting the WTF but I think London already has Wimbledon, and this particular event should move around the globe more frequently.


youyong Says:

Such an infantile response.


Ben Pronin Says:

Patson, I agree about moving it around. But then there’s the argument that if you move it too fast, the event won’t have time to grow. Yes London already has a big event. I actually thought having it in Shanghai made a lot of sense but I can see how traveling from Paris to Shanghai isn’t ideal.

Is Paris still moving to February?

Youyong, get over yourself. All Nadal does is whine. All Nadal fans do is blindly follow his every word. You have hawkeye and the likes immediately undermining Federer winning the sportsmanship award. Get the out of town with your nonsense. Infantile? Answer the question. Oh you can’t? Color me shocked.


hawkeye Says:

Madmax misses Me!!! I love you too madmax!!!

Roger Federer, however, disagrees.

What a whiner. It’s KILLING me!!!

Settle down, Roger, settle down.


hawkeye Says:

Ah, yes, they need “time” for tennis to grow… in London.

Brilliant.

Shank you. Shank you very much. (hawkeye has left the building)


Steve 27 Says:

Why not in Indoor clay, indoor grass, indoor hc and indoor carpet?. Yes, tradition is important, but the Australian and Wimbledon have roof now, and Roland Garros and the US Open will follow them. And we know gs should be played in outdoors but the weather have influence more than the past. I think to increase the popularity of the WTF should be in all continents, in indoors and outdoors and in different surfaces. If the ATP do that, the last tournament of the year will be without a doubt, the biggest tournament of the tour.


youyong Says:

I see no point continuing with a child. Good luck with your own whining.


Ben Pronin Says:

No, Steve, no it won’t.

Cool story, youyong.


Patson Says:

Rafa didn’t do himself much favor when he vehemently opposed Madrid moving to blue clay. He could’ve said something like ‘I love the idea but they need to improve it a bit’. His vehement opposition forced them to go back to red clay. Had he been smart about putting across his point-of-view, he could’ve had a better chance of bringing a change in the surface at the WTF. The fact remains that he opposed it. Granted the surface was slippery but it was the first time it was being used. In this regard, I was unhappy with Nole as well when he opposed it. Only Fed supported that move even before winning it that year. I liked the blue clay, and I really liked Tiriac’s idea. Couldn’t they give the blue clay another chance ? Could they not have improved it ? Of course they could’ve. All it needed was some support from the big players.

The fact is that you can’t be selective in your support for change. Change has to be fair as well.
People now think that Rafa only talks about change when it suits him. This is unfortunate.


Anna Says:

Not only should the WTF be played around the world, it should also represent all of the surfaces played on throughout the year, otherwise tennis as a whole is not being represented. Obviously indoor, h/c tournaments favor certain types of players on the tour. Every player on earth will tell you that if a finals had been played on clay once in the last ten years, Nadal would have won already. You can’t give much weight to a final that played on a single surface year after year.

Ben, no one whines like you do. You are both the king and queen of whining. If there were an unsportsmanlike award here at tennis x, it would be all yours buddy.


Steve 27 Says:

Because you said so?. Indoors are fine but outdoors can be in South American if the ATP choose that location. Imagine there in indoor clay and in a place like Netherlands on grass. I think should be considered. After all, in 2003 and 2004 the Masters was played in outdoors, very far from Europe.


hawkeye Says:

Well said Anna.

Indoor tennis is for indoor GOAT whiners.


Ben Pronin Says:

Patson, I forget where I read it but a better move with the blue clay would have been to test it a smaller event and moving on from there. It’s unfortunate that it failed. I agree, I didn’t like Djokovic’s and Nadal’s vehement opposition to it. It was barely more slippery than Monte Carlo.

Cool story, Anna. Wha wha wha, the WTF isn’t on clay and Nadal can’t win, wha wha wha. Give me a break. No one ever brought up changing the surface until Nadal and Uncle Toni started stating it was unfair. You can’t give much weight to a final played on a single surface year after year? Good thing you don’t have much weight to give. Every tennis tournament in the world is played on the same surface year after year but you can give weight to all the other ones? The French Open and Wimbledon have never ever switched surfaces. You know what, that’s total nonsense. From here on out, the French Open and Wimbledon carry 0 weight as far as significance since they NEVER switch surfaces.

We have 2 outdoor hard court slams, a clay slam, and a grass slam. What’s wrong with having a major event indoors? The real tragedy is that the WTF isn’t carpet anymore.

Nadal only whines when it benefits him. It’s no secret.

Steve, do you mean to switch every year? Every 2 years? Every 3 years? How is the surface determined? Which continents? I’m not trying to be facetious here, so don’t take this the wrong way. I really think that the tournament should be held in the same venue for 3-5 years. It needs to build up it’s popularity at a single event. It’s easy for us if we just sit online and watch streams. But that’s not where the revenue comes from. The local fan base needs to be big enough to maintain something as big as the WTF. And then the surfaces question. One venue cannot host multiple surfaces. Think about how decimated it would be by the third year after switching from hard to grass to clay. It would become a pit. And if you have one surface for 3 years, then another for 3, then someone else will complain. Right now only Nadal complains. And don’t forget that clay court specialist Gustavo Kuerten was able to snatch the title way back in 2000 with no complaints.

Of course I’m sure the complaints will die down if Nadal wins the title this year.


Rumble Says:

yeah right, Nadal just wants the slow red clay.

What a whiner, come on, with 13 slams, grow up.

If he wants “fair distribution” across playing surfaces – then one of the two outdoor hard slams should be indoors (would he support that??), more masters tournaments should be indoors (25%), there should be 2 grass masters tournaments (would he support that??). NO WAY.

There are 4 surfaces (with some variations) – indoor hard (used to be carpet, even lower bounce), outdoor hard (more bounce), clay, and grass. If he is so much for “fair distribution”, why not be totally fair??

WHat a hypocrite.

I hope Berdych and Wawa send him back to Majorca before saturday.


Anna Says:

This isn’t a slam dimwit. It’s a competition that is suppose to be a culmination of the year. Clay is an integral surface in tennis and yet the “final” each year is played on indoor hardcourt. If you want to call it an indoor h/c slam, then fine, but don’t call it a final!!!

Rumble – You have no clue what Nadal would support or not support. Just another wienie whiner.


Anna Says:

“I’m sure the complaints will die down if Nadal wins this year”.

They would have to wouldn’t they Ben. Fed fanatics wouldn’t have their little stronghold of “Nadal can’t win the WTF”.

Bottom line….when it all plays out WTF won’t matter one way or the other.


madmax Says:

hawkeye Says:
Madmax misses Me!!! I love you too madmax!!!

Roger Federer, however, disagrees.

What a whiner. It’s KILLING me!!!

Settle down, Roger, settle down.

November 5th, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Oh hawkeye, are we missing our friends from TT to have a head bash with?

You will really do the lower the tone here since your arrival. It’s a shame really, as you almost are as much of a whiner as your idol. “Oh My knees are going to end my career”, (let’s get the whole world on board and fake that too).

Seriously hawkeye, get a job or a hobby where you don’t have to frequent a tennis blog with your insecurities, and your whining. whaaaaa whaaaaa whaaaaa.


Ben Pronin Says:

Anna, this complaint was never raised before the Whine King Rafael Nadal. Don’t call me a dimwit when you blindly worship a whiny fraud.


Ben Pronin Says:

“Bottom line….when it all plays out WTF won’t matter one way or the other.”

Said no one ever until Rafa Nadal started whining about events he couldn’t win.

Wha wha wha!!!


andrea Says:

good grief! really nadal????

should we infer that you feel you might have won a WTF had it been played on clay?

maybe it’s time to start talking about the rolling two year ranking again….


Giles Says:

At what point did Rafa say he wants this glorifies Exo changed to clay??? He said the surface should vary from indoor hard court to some other different surface. And why not? Did he commit a crime?? Why are all you weeny whiners getting so uptight ? Joker has suggested a change in venue every 3 years. Attack him as well!


Giles Says:

“No one ever brought up changing the surface until Nadal and Uncle Toni …….”. That’s because none of the rest of the players have the intelligence and imagination to suggest such a move. In any case what is wrong with variety, eh??


Giles Says:

“I hope Berdych and Wawa send him back to Majorca before Saturday” says @Bumble. Really? Why? Oh let me guess, another Rafa hater.
Shame these types have to spew so much hate and venom but I guess this is what you types do best!
Vamos Rafa!!


Giles Says:

Good grief! Really Andrea???
Vamos Rafa!!


skeezer Says:

Whiner!
#nothumble
#itsallaboutME


madmax Says:

Giles Says:
At what point did Rafa say he wants this glorifies Exo changed to clay??? He said the surface should vary from indoor hard court to some other different surface. And why not? Did he commit a crime?? Why are all you weeny whiners getting so uptight ? Joker has suggested a change in venue every 3 years. Attack him as well!

November 5th, 2013 at 5:01 pm

Good gracious me Giles, are we getting whiny all of a sudden? Do we want to rack up all our GS wins on clay? We don’t variety? really now?

Just stop the talking and start the playing for whining’s sake!

It really is becoming boring claptrap.


madmax Says:

Apologies Giles. I went down to your standards then!

*We don’t do variety*.


Giles Says:

Hey @ madmax. Don’t flatter yourself! You DON’T have standards, period!!


rogerafa Says:

I do not think the London WTF surface or indoor conditions should be an issue at all for Rafa. This has always been a high-bouncing surface on the slower side. Shanghai used to be quicker. It certainly is WAY slower than the blazing fast indoor carpets with very low bounce and quick balls of the 1990s. I am a bit surprised that Rafa has not done better in these much slower conditions. I am quite sure Rafa will do very well this year. Nobody in his group is a real threat and the semi finalists from the other group will probably be pretty tired and a potential finalist from that side has to play onthree straight days. The fact that he made the final in 2010 is a sign that he is comfortable in these conditions. Low bounce and very quick conditions are likely to bother him but we hardly see such conditions anywhere nowadays. I also sense that Rafa is on a bit of a mission here. Delboy appears a bit tired and Novak seems to be the only real obstacle if he does end up meeting him.


Giles Says:

### ItsAllAboutVariety!!


madmax Says:

Giles Says:
Hey @ madmax. Don’t flatter yourself! You DON’T have standards, period!!

November 5th, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Hey Giles, you would know. Now why couldn’t rafa close it out Giles? Can you explain?


Giles Says:

^^^ I think you should be worrying about your man right now, not asking 20 questions!
Vamos Rafa!!


Anna Says:

Rafa can’t close what out Madmax. Nadal has won 10 titles this year. A hat trick on US hard courts that Fed fans poo pooed every step of the way. Not even the great Roger has pulled that off. Has he ever even won Roger’s Cup and Cincinnati back to back? Doubt it. If someone has lost the ability to close it isn’t Rafa. As Giles said, worry about your own man.


mem Says:

andrea,
pretend you have common sense even if you don’t!

the issue is not whether rafa can or cannot win on the indoor court in london. it’s a matter of principle! a matter of fairness! don’t the guidelines state that the world tour tournament is to be rotated every three years to a different venue? if so, what’s the problem? rafa is just speaking the truth. say what you want about him, but he is my kind of leader. he speaks out against injustice. most other players sucks up wrongdoing and too afraid to speak out. rafa knows that there is no love lost from those who can’t stand him anyway. there are eight players who work their butts off to qualify for that tournament. it’s only fair that every couple of years the tournament is played on a different surface, giving every player an equal opportunity to win the tournament. it’s not about rafa trying to make things easier for him. some players games are better suited for indoors, others outdoor, some grass, some clay. don’t you think all eight players should eventually have a chance to play on their best surface, as is roger federer. do you think roger would stand by with his mouth shut if this tournament was in its fourth of fifth year on a clay surface? forgive my bluntness, but you guys are so misguided. it’s like a cult! whatever you are told to believe, that’s what you believe. the blind leading the blind! what can i say, i guess you guys just simply don’t know any better.


Giles Says:

@mem. Great post. Educate them!!
Vamos Rafa!!


Patson Says:

Ben, was there any real need to call Rafa a fraud ? You could’ve stopped at whiny. I believe we shouldn’t use words that question the integrity of a player. I acknowledge Nadal as one the greatest to play the game. It does not befit a tennis fan to call someone who’s considered one of the greats a fraud unless he’s a Lance Armstrong. You can call him whiny, you can say he plays boring tennis, you can say he’s one-dimensional but fraud is a pretty harsh word.

If you are having an argument with a fan, I don’t think there is any need to resort to such words.


metan Says:

The moment Rafa expresses his idea, or gives his idea all the haters become SOURGRAPE JUICE. pathetic!!! Move on!!


Ben Pronin Says:

“Has he ever even won Roger’s Cup and Cincinnati back to back? Doubt it.”

Well first this shows what I’ve long suspected about Nadal fans: you know nothing about tennis. And second, who cares? When’s the last time Nadal won 2 hard court slams in 1 year?

Patson, I don’t care. Nadal is a fraud.


metan Says:

Patson. Nice post. I just wanted to ask Ben . Does he really have a backup when he called Rafa whiny fraud????


andrea Says:

@ mem

injustice???

surely you jest.

injustice against whom?

i have never heard the subject of changing surfaces at the WTF brought up until i read nadal’s comments. given his lack of success at the event (meaning zero titles) how else should anyone interpret these comments?

players aren’t sucking up ‘wrong doing’. they are playing based on the ATP schedule and rules, of which there are many components including TV schedules, sponsors, fan access etc. can rules change? of course. but it seems mighty suspect that no player has ever publicly complained about a surface change at the WTF EXCEPT for someone who has never won the event and whose favourite surface is clay.

and roger has voiced his opinion in the past that there should be more grass court events during the year, but that hasn’t happened either.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Right i admit it im a very selfish Rafa fan here speaking,although i hate the RR format,as the idea of losing possibly two matches but still winning the whole thing is something i have always found bizarre in sports any sports,however im digressing here,as i say im a selfish Rafa fan and im p*ssed that he hasnt won the WTF,so i would love for it to be played on different surfaces to give him a better chance of completing his resume,im not a fraud,but i am whinging and whining,and im been honest and i hope at least people can appreciate that.


didi Says:

I think more matches should be on grass. Rafa is a whiner when its not clay. I hope he loses and can’t even come close to Roger’s 6 titles,


mem Says:

andrea,

im not surprised that you don’t understand. you say it seems suspect to you that no other players have spoken out. it’s simple, they are spineless! they “suck up” to whatever, no guts to speak out against inequality. they do what they are told. they are probably afraid to offend mr. federer. don’t trouble yourself trying to understand, you never will because you don’t have the insight.


mem Says:

Ben Pronin,

you are an elementary writer and you are not even good at that level. you live in an imaginary world where you can pretend you are this big time writer with extraordinary tennis knowledge. wake up! somebody has fooled you! i know you are just a bitter kid, but you are not qualified to critique anyone.

btw, did you just call nadal a fraud? i believe you mispelled fraud. the correct way to spell it is “ben pronin.”


Hawkeye Says:

Federazzi are whiny weenies when TMF’s game is not on his racquet.

Nole is 15-16 vs TMF and we will soon have yet a third tennis great with a winning H2H against him.

Not even one tennis great with a winning h2h against the new GOAT.

Likely explains why so many tennis greats past and present no longer hand the crown to TMF.

Such an angry lot.


Anna Says:

Yes Ben, clever AND true!


Hawkeye Says:

Back on longer time delay again. Oh well.

Congrats Nole, courbon and patson and his fans.

Sorry for Fedfan, Ben, madmax, rumble, Sean, Tom and all staff.


Steve 27 Says:

some guys should be banned and prevent exposing their daily misery just because they tolerate a certain player, instead of focusing on his own. It is time that editors of this blog do something and enforce civility (if the Internet allows so). It is good to have debate and discussion, however, it is unacceptable that people with limited mental capacity, low tolerance for frustration and most importantly, no evidence, only speculation and turning away all that certain player (we know who) do or does not do. I call again responsible for this website in enforcing their guide lines and do their job, but what good is so eager to do follow the rules if they allow this proliferation of violent and uncontrollable attacks no other function to divert the purpose this initial blog is the free exchange of opinions?


Humble Rafa Says:

All tennis should be played on clay. Even a 2 year old knows this. It’s good for your body and good for your knees. Not good for your socks.

I also recommend playing the WTF in June. That way, it coincides with the clay court season.


Thomas Says:

The WTF is an indoor event. It occurs in the fall, which has traditionally been the indoor period of the season. So yeah, it will remain indoors as it fits in with the surface that is used in that part of the year.


Thomas Says:

@Ben
I agree. Maybe you were a little bit too extreme with some statements, but the essential points you are making are spot on.


skeezer Says:

Re; post @ 11;24

I agree Tennis X, please do a better job of moderating these types, you know, like stever 27 says, referring to the rafafanatics and limited mental capacities.


Steve 27 Says:

calm down, squeezer, we know you are not the synonym of respect and tolerance ‘re the opposite, a poor boy who prefer the provocation and constant antics. Can not take you seriously. Oh, and the Swiss fans is the worst of all, since 2004 can not tolerate that someone lambasts your idol and have defeated him forever, showing a wide parenthood. And if you want to talk about respect and civility …


skeezer Says:

^uh?
This is a tennis blog, not a a front for ones geopolitical agenda or propaganda thereof. I again suggest you re read your post @11:24 and look within, not project out to others. Therein lies the lesson to be learnt.


Steve 27 Says:

Nah


WTF Says:

Ben, when it was in Houston it was outdoors.


Giles Says:

http://alturl.com/5pnhn
Nadal hot shot. Wow!
Vamos Rafa!!


Giles Says:

I think Rafa slipped up just a tad. He should be calling for all the Grand Slams and this glorified Exo that is the WTF to be played on clay!! That would have been fun indeed!
@Ben Pronin. I think you need to steady your ship. Where do you get off calling Rafa a fraud?
#Slander
Vamos Rafa!!


metan Says:

Giles, that shot is phenomenal. Hope we can see more in this tournament.!
Good Luck RAFA!!! For the YEN #1. I can’t waaaaaait!!


James Says:

Nadal should win this damn thing first. He’s beaten Murray and Djokovic indoors before. He has a good chance this year. Beat Djokovic, Delpo or whoever stands in your way, lift the title.


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Didi@7.44pm November 5th,if you dont like Rafa then fair enough,but as your a fan of Roger, would,nt it be more counter productive to root for him to win,rather than wasting nervous energy hoping Rafa will lose?also have to ask when your hoping Rafa gets nowhere near Rogers 6 titles,are you a fan of Roger or just his legacy?


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

James any thought on the Rafa/Daveed match,as i didnt see it asi was at work,was he good,bad,average,buisness like?


James Says:

TX hippy chic, are you gonna be able to watch Nadal’s match vs Stan today?

Rafa was ok and looked good in 2nd set. If he can play at his Montreal level then I think he has a shot at winning the tournament this time.

Ferru played below average. He said he was a bit tired after Paris.


hawkeye Says:

In a post match interview. Rafa said he was ready to play agressive but once he saw that Ferrer was not at his best, he played higher margin tennis and waited for Ferrer’s mistakes.

BTW, quite telling about those that say Rafa is being “selfish” with his opinion when he says:

“I’m not talking about me because I know it won’t happen for my generation, so I’m talking for the next generations — [to have] something more fair to the players and I think for the fans it would be something more interesting to change the surface every year.”

Poor comprehension or just plain haters. Federazzi claim that Rafa fans only have the h2h but ironically it’s the other way around. It’s all about the 10-21 for them, isn’t it.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Is Rafa asking only to change the surface every year and keep it indoors or he wants it in outdoors? I’m not sure. But it makes sense to have a tournament indoors at the end of year.


hawkeye Says:

Mainly surface but I think he implies both.

For sure, easier to change surface but no reason it can’t be played outdoors occasionally.

Quite nice in South America and Australia this time of year.


Rumble Says:

Now I am just waiting for Nadal’s knee injury to surface again. One more loss, and its going to come out like a magic wand!


James Says:

Rumble, Nadal just clinched the Year End #1 ranking. His victory over Wawrinka is dedicated to you and other Fed fans who love talking about Nadal all the time.

Thank you guys!


James Says:

Several months ago, Ben Pronin had nice things to say about Rafa. As Rafa went on to win more and more titles including 2 Slams, Ben has had less good to say about Rafa. Now he sounds like any other bitter Fed fan.

@Ben, Nadal is the Year End #1 of 2013 :)


Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

James i saw the second set of Rafas match,plenty of ups and downs,but he got the job done in straight sets thankfully,although im not denying he had an element of luck,and he can play better too,much better.


Nirmal Kumar Says:

Looks like Rafa is willing himself to victory here. He might just gas out, since he has achieved the goal of No1 and pretty much knows that he has much less chance against Nole.

Ideally he should rest and prepare himself for AO. I feel he might get the AO final this time from Nole.


James Says:

@TXHC, true, Rafa can and should play better than he did against Stan today. Now with the YE #1 pressure off his shoulder, I hope he plays freely as he has nothing to lose.

I hope we see him play more aggressively against Berdych, and later against Delpo, Fed or Djokovic.

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