<
>

Rafael Nadal displeased by schedule

CORDOBA, Spain -- Rafael Nadal wants an immediate fix to an overcrowded tennis calendar or players may examine tougher options to force a change.

Nadal beat Richard Gasquet 6-3, 6-0, 6-1 on Friday to put Spain ahead of France 1-0 in the Davis Cup semifinals, the match coming only four days after the second-ranked Spaniard lost to Novak Djokovic in the U.S. Open final.

Nadal has complained before about the overcrowded calendar. When asked if a strike would be possible, he said players may have to use "strong action" if necessary.

"We don't want to get there. We want to play. But if it's a fight about something that we think is fair, something would have to happen," Nadal said on Friday. "Sometimes the only way to make things happen is to choose strong action."

Nadal insisted an "evolution" in the calendar must be made or "we might get to a place where we might not want to be."

"They don't want to change anything," he said. "You can't always just think about the personal benefit. It seems as if those in charge aren't aware."

The Davis Cup quarterfinals are played the week after Wimbledon, and the semifinals are played the week following the U.S. Open.

Nadal has been a vocal critic, but the dates are also partly his doing.

Nadal was among 17 of the top 20 players who asked the International Tennis Federation, which organizes the Davis Cup, to alter the calendar in October 2006. The change was implemented at the start of the 2009 season.

In the letter, also signed by then-No. 1 Roger Federer and Andy Roddick, Nadal asked that Davis Cup play come in the week immediately following the Grand Slam events and not two weeks later, as originally scheduled.

Spain teammate David Ferrer, who won his match against Gilles Simon to put Spain 2-0 in front, said the majority of players agreed with Nadal's perspective.

"We're not machines, we are at the limits of our physical ability," the fifth-ranked Ferrer said. "No doubt something has to change."