World number one Rafael Nadal, who is returning from injury and beginning his preparation for the clay court season and the French Open with the Monte Carlo Masters, took a dig at his arch-rival Roger Federer saying that the Swiss maestro prefers to avoid playing him on clay.
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. (Getty Images)
The Spaniard’s statement comes just before he opens his campaign in the ATP Tour’s Monte Conte Masters, after having already helped his country to the Davis Cup quarter-finals by beating Germany. Nadal has won the Monte Carlo Masters ten times.
That Nadal loves the clay courts is no secret, and 53 titles on the said surface during his career so far is testament to that. The 31-year old teased the Swiss ace for skipping the clay court season for the second year running according to reports in the Telegraph.
Speaking about Federer’s decision, Nadal said, “He says he will love to play against me again in best-of-five sets on clay. He said that a couple of days ago – and I thought he would play Roland Garros. Then a few days later he says he will not play in one event, so there’s a little bit of controversy with that.”
Nadal who has been suffering from a hip injury this season is making a long awaited return to competitive tennis. Incidentally, Federer, last month expressed a willingness to take on his arch-rival on clay, a surface where Nadal has won 13 out of their 15 meetings.
Federer though back tracked on his comment, and said he would skip the clay court season in 2018, which then prompted Nadal to take a light dig at him.
Last year, after skipping the clay court season, Federer returned in mid-June for the grass court tournaments and won Wimbledon in great style.