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Nadal backs move for financial parity but silent on boycott talk

17 January 2018 12:17

Rafael Nadal says tennis' high-earners must do more to protect the lesser lights on the ATP Tour, but refused to comment on reports of an Australian Open boycott led by Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic dismissed suggestions that he had called for a boycott of 2019's first major after opening this year's campaign with victory over Donald Young on Tuesday.

It had been reported that 12-time grand slam winner Djokovic - the president of the ATP Tour Player Council - used a mandatory players' meeting on Friday to discuss the distribution of money generated by grand slam events, and had even raised the possibility of skipping a trip to Melbourne next year to make a stand.

World number one Nadal distanced himself from any talk of a boycott but highlighted the need for greater financial parity in the game.

"I don't know 100 per cent about what's going on or not, but at some point it is good that the players speak between each other about what we want or what we don't want," Nadal told reporters after continuing his campaign in Melbourne with a straight-sets win over Leonardo Mayer.

"Not about union or not union. Forget about this. Just about speaking about what's the things that are right on the tour, what's the things that can be better. That's all.

"I believe that the tennis improved a lot the last couple of years for the lower ranking players. Well, I know what we did a couple of years ago.

"We were fighting with the tournaments - not fighting in a negative way, but fighting for the players that are lower ranking to have better money to survive.

"One sport is bigger not only when the top guys wins a lot of money. It's bigger when a sport creates a lot of jobs. If there is 300 people living from tennis it is better than if there is only 100.

"We have [made] great improvements on the tour. We can say thanks to our sport because our sport is in good shape and we really should be thankful for all the things that's going on because every time the tour is better."

Nadal will face Damir Dzumhur in round three on Friday, when a heatwave is forecast for Melbourne.

"The only thing I hope is that, if it is extreme conditions, I hope the organisation puts the roof [over the court]," added the top seed.

"That's all. I think is a health issue. I would not like to see retirements here, conditions that create a bad show for the crowd. 

"In the courts that we have the roof, why not put the roof when the conditions are so extreme?"

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