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Page last updated at 17:41 GMT, Thursday, 1 May 2008 18:41 UK

Nadal furious at crowded schedule

Rafael Nadal
Nadal is scheduled to play for four consecutive weeks

Rafael Nadal has criticised tennis chiefs, saying the European tennis calendar is being "destroyed" by the packed schedule.

"These people are destroying Europe and Europe used to be the foundation of the tour," said Nadal, who is playing four events in as many weeks.

The Spaniard kept up his good form by beating Feliciano Lopez 6-4 6-3 in the third round of the Barcelona Open.

Earlier, Andy Murray and Ross Hutchins went out of the men's doubles.

The Brits lost their second round clash with Jeff Coetzee and Kevin Ullyett 6-3 7-6 (7-2).

Argentine third seed David Nalbandian also crashed, losing 6-3 6-1 to Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka.

Nadal took just one hour and 45 minutes to beat his friend and compatriot Lopez and never faced a break point.

"This is one of my favourite events and playing Feliciano is always tough," said the world number two, who had his left shoulder taped.

But Nadal, who claimed the Monte Carlo title for a fourth time last weekend, has predicted his own form could suffer due to the schedule.

"I think it's completely impossible to play at one's best level for all four tournaments - Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and Hamburg," Nadal said.

"You just have to accept this situation, all the players will be the same, they will not be able to play at their high level for all four, I think it's totally impossible."

The ATP has made several changes to the calendar in 2008 to accommodate the Olympic Games in August.

The result is that the clay-court season has become especially congested ahead of this month's French Open.

Monte Carlo, Rome and Hamburg are all Masters Series events, which automatically count towards a player's ranking.

"I think that when a player loses in the first round or pulls out and they get criticised, the tournament should ring these people (the ATP) and tell them that it is their fault.

"I have some email conversations with these people but it is true that they end up doing what they like and I am getting tired of it all."

American James Blake added: "The Olympics is such a unique experience that we need to make arrangements for but the calendar is too packed and maybe we should take out the Davis Cup in Olympic years.

"You'll see how many matches (Nadal) plays this clay-court season, how many matches guys like (Roger) Federer, (Andy) Roddick, (Novak) Djokovic and myself play throughout the entire year.

"It's probably too much to expect a player to have a lengthy career. It makes it very difficult."

see also
Ancic sends Murray crashing out
29 Apr 08 |  Tennis

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