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Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer Rift Grows Amid Tour Negotiations

Rafael Nadal called out Tennis rival Roger Federer in a Spanish interview over not supporting the other male tennis players in negotiating a better tour schedule.

Nadal said that Federer would prefer putting his reputation ahead of joining with the rest of the players.

When Nadal was asked if he thought Federer detested players who spoke out against issues during tour, he said he didn’t think the No. 3 ranked player had an aversion to the players’ actions, but that he would rather protect his easy-going image.

''For him it's good to say nothing. Everything positive. 'It's all well and good for me, I look like a gentleman,' and the rest can burn themselves,” he said in Spanish, according to the Associated Press.

''Everyone is entitled to have their own opinions,'' he said.

In a news conference, Federer stated that he was uninterested in joining the debate because it had a negative impact on his reputation in the past.

Several players, including Nadal, Lleyton Hewit, and No. 4 seed Andy Murray, have taken a stand against overbooked, lengthy schedules and distribution of prize money. Players have threatened a strike during the current Australian Open tournament if their demands aren’t met.

Nadal, ranked the No. 2 male player in the world, has been an entertaining rival with Federer for years.

Federer had astonished the tennis scene, defeating the competition so easily, commentators wondered when he’d ever lose his title. It wasn’t until Nadal, that men’s tennis began seeing a different winner in tournaments.

Federer has won 16 Grand Slam titles, and won the Australian Open four times. Nadal has won 10 Grand Slam titles. Novak Djokovic has won three of the four major tennis tournaments in 2011 beating out both Federer and Nadal for the No. 1 spot.

''He (Federer) likes the circuit. I like the circuit,'' Nadal said. ''It's much better than many other sports but that doesn't mean that it couldn't be better. It doesn't mean there are some things about the tour that could change. The tour is fine, but there are some things that are bad. That's all we're saying.

''And the vast majority of players have this same opinion. He's got a different opinion ... if the vast majority have one opinion, and a small minority think differently, maybe it's them who are wrong,'' he added.

Federer said there is no rift between him and Nadal and the two remain professionals. He said he respects Nadal’s strong opinions.

''We can't always agree on everything,'' Federer said. ''So far it's always been no problem really. Back in the day he (Nadal) used to say, 'Whatever Roger decides, I'm fine with.'”

Federer also said he supports the men’s criticisms, but just thinks a strike should be thought out very carefully.

“I just think we have to think it through how we do it, if we do it, can we do it, whatever it is, instead of just going out and screaming about it,'' he said.

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