Nadal: ATP are risking players’ health by not acting to slow game down

Rafael Nadal trains with Toni Nadal

Toni Nadal says the ATP are putting players at risk with a reckless pursuit of speed. 

Toni, who is the uncle and former coach of current world number one Rafael Nadal, believes that each year the physical effort to succeed on the ATP Tour is cranked up, putting them at greater risk of injury.

“ATP and International Federation (ITF) made some mistakes,” he said. “Balls are a little bit faster every year, players need more power and it causes injuries.

“Arm, hip injuries and so forth. Balls should be lighter. I think it would make the game slower and more attractive.”

Rafael Nadal has been one of the players who has started to manage his schedule more carefully to make sure he can perform at the big events, and Toni says it’s no coincidence that older players are beginning to shine now they understand the risks better.

“For him, it’s very important to have success in the Grand Slams,’ Toni explained.

“If you ask me for how much time he will still play? For sure, until his body allows him to. When we came on the Tour in 2002/2003, the best ones were very young.

“Lleyton Hewitt, for example, was the youngest No. 1 at 20 years of age in 2001. And today? The best players are all over 30: (Roger) Federer, Rafa, (Andy) Murray, (Novak) Djokovic.”