Indian Wells – Despite his undisputed status as king of clay courts, Rafael Nadal says he loves hard court tennis, too, he’s just not sure hard courts love him – or any other player.
Nadal, who said he hoped and expected to be fit for a semi-final showdown with old foe Roger Federer on Saturday, wanted to be careful when asked if he thought playing on hard courts contributed to his history of injury.
“Probably it’s more than 1 100 matches on tour, more than any surface,” the 32-year-old Spaniard said.
But he added that cement-based hard courts, compared to clay and grass courts, do provide more of a pounding.
“I love to play on hard, but probably my body don’t love it that much,” Nadal said.
“And my feeling is there are a lot of players that love to play on hard, true, but their bodies don’t love to play on hard, either.”
Nadal noted that most other sports are played on less punishing surfaces such as grass. Although he doesn’t think it will happen in his playing career, Nadal would like to see a more forgiving surface in wider use in tennis.
“It’s not about only during the tennis careers that I am worried,” he said. “When I see some old legends walking around the tour, it’s tough.”
Results on Friday in the BNP Paribas Open WTA and ATP Masters hardcourt tournament (x-denotes seeded player):
Roger Federer (SUI x4) bt Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 6-4, 6-4
Rafael Nadal (ESP x2) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS x12) 7-6 (7/2), 7-6 (7/2)
Angelique Kerber (GER x8) bt Belinda Bencic (SUI x23) 6-4, 6-2
Bianca Andreescu (CAN) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR x6) 6-3, 2-6, 6-4
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