Shanghai, China: New world number one Rafael Nadal is undecided about playing at the annual Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships in 2014.
The 2006 champion says he loves playing in the Aviation Club tournament — scheduled for February 24 to March 1 next year — but says his injury-plagued knees would cope better with playing on clay rather than a hardcourt
“I would never say never — it is difficult to say whether I will be there or not. [Dubai] is a tournament that I really love so much. I was really sorry that this year I couldn’t play there because I should, but during my comeback I needed to play on an easier surface and that’s what I had to change. So I had to go to Acapulco and play on clay instead,” Nadal said on the sidelines of the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Tuesday.
“I doubt the situation has changed a lot since then. Even if I had the great success on hard surfaces, for my knees it is better to play on clay. So I don’t know if I am going to play yet in February [in Dubai] because playing on hard is difficult for me.”
Nadal made his comeback from a seven-month injury lay-off by winning both the Acapulco Open in Mexico and the Brazil Open in Sao Paulo. But next year both of those tournaments will be held on the same week as the Dubai Duty Free Men’s Open, forcing Nadal to make a difficult choice.
“The schedule always depends on the matches you are playing, not on the tournaments that you are playing, because if you are winning a lot of matches you can play less. If you are losing in the earlier rounds, then you need to play more tournaments. So it’s difficult to predict 100 per cent your schedule. You can have an idea what you would like to play, but then that depends on the results,” Nadal said.
“I know more or less what I going to play next year. But let’s see how I finish the season, how I start the season again next year in Doha and in Australia. That’s something that I didn’t have the chance to play last year and is important in the beginning.”