Rafael Nadal moves to diffuse rift with Roger Federer

 

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal today displayed their class on and off the court by easing into the second round of the Australian Open and then diffusing a potential rift over the governance of tennis.

Nadal and Federer have always offered each other the utmost respect but the Spaniard yesterday opened a lingering wound by accusing the 16-time grand slam winner of not doing enough given his lofty status to push for change on issues such as prize money and the strains of life on tour.

Nadal, who beat qualifier Alex Kuznetsov 6-4 6-1 6-1, said in his press conference yesterday: "His position is easy: do not say anything, all positive, I am a 'gentleman', others get burned."

The world number two admitted tonight he had been wrong speaking publicly rather than seeking out Federer personally.

"Yesterday what I said, I said but I was probably wrong telling you because these things must stay in the locker room," said Nadal.

"I have always had a fantastic relationship with Roger and I still do.

"We can have different views about how the tour needs to work, that's all.

"I feel sorry for saying it because I should have said it to him personally."

Federer was diplomacy personified after easing past the challenge of Alexander Kudryavtsev 7-5 6-2 6-2.

"Things are fine between us, I have no hard feelings towards him," he insisted.

"It's been a difficult last few months in terms of politics within the ATP, trying to find a new chairman and CEO, that can get a bit frustrating sometimes.

"He's mentioned many times how he gets a bit frustrated through the whole process and I share that with him.

"But for me, nothing changes in terms of our relationship. I'm completely cool and relaxed about it. He seemed the same way - or at least I hope so."

Federer also rubbished suggestions he stood apart from the majority of the players, who attended a mandatory ATP meeting in Melbourne on Saturday night.

"I was in the meeting and I completely understand and support the players' opinions," he added.

"I just have a different way of going at it.

"I think of the players first and usually when I take decisions, I think of the lower-ranked players first. I hope they know that."

A strike has been mentioned in some quarters but that was not a route Federer felt would benefit the game as a whole.

"It's such a dangerous word to use, that's why I always say 'let's try to avoid it as much as we can'.

"I think that would be best for everyone, fans, tournaments and players.

"If there is no avoiding it, I'll support the rest of the players but I just think we need to think through how we do it."

Having attempted to play down one potential issue, Nadal was presented with another after revealing he was suffering from a knee injury which almost forced him out of the tournament.

"I had a fantastic week of practise with no pain but yesterday afternoon the strangest thing happened. I was sitting on a chair in the hotel and I felt a crack on the knee. I stood up and the knee felt a bit strange. I moved it and I felt unbelievable pain.

"I had to go to the hospital for an MRI and yesterday evening I was not 100% sure I would play but I had a lot of treatment and the MRI was positive.

"I am really happy that today I was ready to play and played a fantastic match."

Aside from Federer and Nadal, the day belonged to home favourite Bernard Tomic after the Australian came from two sets down to beat Fernando Verdasco 4-6 6-7 (3/7) 6-4 6-2 7-5 in an epic struggle.

There were also wins on day one for Tomas Berdych, Nicolas Almagro, Mardy Fish and Juan Martin Del Potro.

PA

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk