World number one Rafael Nadal said on Wednesday that he doesn’t see himself following in Roger Federer’s footsteps and playing a curtailed schedule in an attempt to lengthen his career.
Federer is missing the claycourt season for the second year in a row, but Nadal says he has no plans to skip any Grand Slam tournaments in the near future.
“Of course, during the years, when you get older, you need to adjust a little bit more the efforts and the calendar,” said the 16-time Grand Slam champion after a second-round Monte Carlo Masters win over Aljaz Bedene.
“But for me it’s difficult to say I am not going to play, for example, grass, or I’m not going to play hard.”
The Spaniard won a 10th French Open title last year, before Federer claimed an eighth Wimbledon crown after not playing on Nadal’s favoured clay.
Nadal has struggled to make an impact at Wimbledon in recent years, having not reached the quarter-finals since losing the 2011 final to Novak Djokovic, but says he can’t imagine missing the grass-court major.
“There are tournaments that I can’t imagine missing on purpose, because they are the tournaments that I love to play,” added Nadal, a two-time Wimbledon champion.
“So I don’t see myself missing Monte Carlo on purpose. I don’t see myself missing Wimbledon on purpose, or the US Open, or Australian, or Rome. These kind of events I don’t see (myself) missing.”
The 31-year-old is bidding for an 11th Monte Carlo title this week and third in a row.
He returned with two wins in Spain’s Davis Cup quarter-final victory over Germany earlier this month, having not played before that since January’s Australian Open due to a hip injury that forced him to retire from a last-eight match with Marin Cilic.
Despite cruising past Bedene 6-1, 6-3 on Wednesday, Nadal says he still needs more matches under his belt.
“When you play matches, you feel more comfortable, you feel more safe with your body, you feel stronger, too, physically,” he said.
“You feel less tired because you get used to the high intensity. Normal feelings that when you play more in a row, feelings are easier.”