Melbourne, Jan 16: Roger Federer's reticence to join other players in voicing complaints about issues affecting the men's game came under scrutiny again at the Australian Open on Monday.
Former No. 3-ranked Nikolay Davydenko said he didn't understand why the 16-time Grand Slam champion wasn't supporting the push to address player grievances, including the overcrowded schedule and the distribution of prize money.
Davydenko's remarks came a day after Rafael Nadal criticized his Swiss rival for sitting back while others speak out and “burn themselves.”
“I don't know why Roger is not supporting the players,” Davydenko said. “Because he don't want ... any problems. He's nice guy. He's winning Grand Slams. He's from Switzerland. He's perfect.
“He don't want to do anything, he just try to be an outsider from this one.”
For the second time in six months, rumors of a possible strike emerged following Saturday's player meeting in Melbourne. Davydenko said a strike was still a distant prospect, but that the players would meet again at the Indian Wells Masters tournament in March.
“The ATP should try to do something between now and Indian Wells,” he said. “For sure, all the top 100 players will go there and just see what will be changed.”
The Russian said he did not support the idea of a shorter season, a change that is backed by Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, but he agrees that prize money has not increased in line with growing profits at Grand Slam tournaments.
Prize money is also an issue at the Indian Wells tournament, where Davydenko said those players who lose in the first round can sometimes make a loss after paying tax and travel costs to contest the tournament.
Federer, though, did sit with the crowd and listen at Saturday's meeting, according to Davydenko, who also said the top four players were supposed to meet on Sunday.
“I don't know what was happening,” Davydenko said. “You need to ask why (of) Federer. I'll also be interesting what Federer says. If you guys ask Federer why he don't want to do, why he don't want to support players, I will be interested in the answer.”
Nadal reacted strongly on Sunday when it was suggested that Federer disliked it when players complained openly about problems on the tour because it tarnished the image of tennis.
“No, I totally disagree,” he said in comments translated from Spanish. “For him it's good to say nothing. Everything positive. ‘It's all well and good for me, I look like a gentleman,' and the rest can burn themselves.
“Everyone is entitled to have their own opinions.”