Roddick, Nadal demand off-season

2009-10-13 00:00

SHANGHAI — Two Spaniards staked their claim on inclusion in the Davis Cup squad with Shanghai Masters wins yesterday as the top seed Rafael Nadal and Andy Roddick warned time is short for the ATP to build a proper off-season for exhausted players.

Tenth seed Fernando Gonzalez got through as German Mischa Zverev retired with a wrist injury, 7-5 6-7 (0-7) 2-2, while Czech 13th seed Radek Stepanek beat veteran Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero 6-3 6-0.

Number 14 Tommy Robredo and 16th-ranked David Ferrer both beat Frenchmen in the first round, with Robredo stopping Michael Llodra 6-1 6-4 and David Ferrer eliminating Richard Gasquet 6-4 6-3.

Nadal echoed Roddick’s plea for time off at the end of the year.

“It’s impossible to play from first of January and finish fifth of December,” said the Spaniard.

“It’s [now] impossible to be playing like I did the last five years, playing a lot of matches and being all the time 100% without problems.

Nadal admitted that changing a crowded schedule is a huge task.

“It’s difficult to say when you stop or when you start [the season]. I don’t know the solution, but that must be changed — and soon.”

Roddick said the same, but in harsher terms: “We’ve tried to make our voice heard for a long time. And we end up finishing a little bit later now.

“I’m not talking about three months here, I’m talking about another two weeks. I’m not looking for an off-season like other sports where it’s three, four months …

“[A strike or boycott] is the last thing that anyone wants to do, but you get pushed against a wall. I don’t think any of us wants to do that, because even more so than feeling a responsibility to the powers that be in tennis, we feel a responsibility to the fans.”

In the first round, James Blake survived 27 aces from Ivo Karlovic to post a 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-3 victory to line up against Nadal.

The Masters 1 000 was won a year ago by Andy Murray, but the Scot is sitting out the week with a wrist injury, while world number one Roger Federer is resting.

First round: Fernando Gonzalez, 10, Chile, def. Mischa Zverev, Germany, 7-5 6-7 (0-7) 2-2 retired; Radek Stepanek, 13, Czech Republic, def. Juan Carlos Ferrero, Spain, 6-3 6-0; Tommy Robredo, 14, Spain, def. Michael Llodra, France, 6-1 6-4; David Ferrer, 16, Spain, def. Richard Gasquet, France, 6-4 6-3; Stan Wawrinka, Switzerland, def. Lucasz Kubot, Poland, 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3); James Blake, US, def. Ivo Karlovic, Croatia, 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-3; Tomaz Bellucci, Brazil, def. Marco Chiudinelli, Switzerland, 7-6 (7-3) 6-4; Florian Mayer, Germany, def. Philipp Petzschner, Germany, 6-3 6-2; Rainer Schuettler, Germany, def. Martin Vassallo Arguello, Argentina, 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-2) — DPA.

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