Rafael Nadal slams silent Roger Federer as strike talk ignites at Australian Open

Rafael Nadal launched an extraordinary attack Sunday on fellow tennis great Roger Federer on the eve of the Australian Open.

Amid talk of a potential player strike at the "happy slam," Nadal hit out at the Swiss master for letting him and other senior pros "burn themselves" defending tour issues while he remains silent, the Herald Sun reported.

In comments to his native media, the Spaniard said Federer complained privately about playing conditions while enhancing his reputation by rarely making negative public comments about tennis.
"For him it's good to say nothing," Nadal said over claims Federer was reluctant to tarnish the sport. "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."

Nadal said Federer's opinions were out of step with most of his peers.

"The tour is fine, but there are some things that are bad. That's all we're saying," Nadal said. "And the vast majority of players have this same opinion. [Federer's] got a different opinion. The vast majority have one opinion, and a small minority think differently. Maybe it's them who are wrong."

Despite his fiery comments, Nadal said he was unwilling to take a central role in the rumored action being discussed among players in Melbourne.

The Spaniard spoke out about changes to the tennis calendar throughout last year and was expected to take the lead again as a debate over pay and conditions ignited on the eve of 2012's first grand slam.

But Nadal said he was withdrawing from the firing line because the progress he believes is needed will only be blocked. He said while the majority of players on tour supported the movement, the institutions were not behind them.

"I want to talk when we have real chances to make [changes]," he told reporters. "When we don't have chances to make that happen, because with how the world of tennis is working today, we don't have any chance on changes because we don't have the support of the structure."

Players met new men's tour chief Brad Drewett in Melbourne on Saturday, AFP reported. Their complaints over the prize money offered at slam events and the scheduling of the Davis Cup fueled fresh talk of player action.

But Nadal said he would only support the effort from a distance, claiming his previous efforts to bring about change had been futile and self-damaging.

"I give information for you to write newspapers," he said. "But at the end of the day I look like I am the one who always talks about things that must change, and I don't win nothing on that. I just lose time, energy, and the people can think that he's always the one who says the bad things, the negative things."

Nadal added, "We are not in that way to change situations even with the support of the super majority of the players. Even like that we didn't win nothing. Sorry, I am tired of keeping working on these things."