Rafael Nadal’s injuries have forced him to miss large parts of the tour during the last few years, as he has had to come to terms with his ‘rigourous’ playing style.
The hectic ATP schedule also means that athletes have to carefully plan their tour calendar in order to avoid injuries and fatigue.
In the pre Rogers Cup press conference, Rafael Nadal was asked about how the current tennis schedule was affecting the players, and what changes could be brought to it in order to reduce injuries on tour.
While you can’t really reduce the number of tournaments happening around the world, Rafael Nadal came up with a novel suggestion of introducing a two-year ranking system, instead of the presently used one-year ranking system, in order to help players plan their schedule in a better manner.
A lot of young players are forced into playing a lot of tournaments, or into rushing back from injury, as there is this fear of losing out on their ‘current world ranking’.
Nadal also stressed on the fact that the current generation has played for much longer than the previous one, and thus has to manage their schedule even better.
“I repeat the same. Roger is 35, 36, I’m 31, Stan is 32 maybe, Novak is 30. We’re not 21 or 22 anymore. The generation before us, most of them at that age had already retired.” Nadal said.
“I said in the past it [the schedule] didn’t work but it will be better to manage the schedule — to have a better schedule — to have a ranking for two years. Two-year ranking, not one-year ranking. That’s going to protect the players and help the players to have periods to find windows for rest.
“Having a one-year ranking, it’s always that if you want to be in a good position in the ranking, you cannot rest much. If you are Federer, Novak or even myself and Andy, we are able to manage it that when we come back we have been winning lots of matches, then you can do it.
“But in general terms, with injuries and being older, it doesn’t help a lot. The schedule is the same, the only thing is that players are playing longer and when you are getting older, you need to find periods [of rest] because mentally, physically, you need it.” Nadal added.
In the two- year ranking system, a players gets ranking points on the basis of performances that span a two year period, thus allowing a player to plan his ‘rest period’ in a better manner. This could help reduce the number of injuries on tour and to increase the longevity of the athletes.