Federer hails 'super-inspiring' Nadal for Majorca flood help

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Switzerland's Roger Federer looks on during the men's singles third round match against Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut at the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament on Thursday. — AFP

PARIS — Roger Federer hailed old rival Rafael Nadal as "super-inspiring" after the world number one joined in the clean-up operation after flash floods killed 12 people on the Spanish holiday island of Majorca.

Spanish tennis star Nadal, 32, was pictured wearing boots and white gloves, mopping up the floor of a warehouse on Wednesday on the island where he lives.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion, currently sidelined through injury, has also offered to open up his sports center and tennis academy to people made homeless by the floods.

"I know how important Majorca is to Rafa and I have been in touch with him to see if I can help with anything," Federer said in a video message recorded in Shanghai where he is currently competing.

"I have seen him helping in the village where he comes from and to see that is super-inspiring. Rafa, you have our support.

"We are thinking of all the people in Majorca. We wish you strength in these difficult times and I hope to be back on Majorca soon."

Fellow rival Novak Djokovic, also taking part in Shanghai, said he hoped Nadal's efforts would inspire others.

"A big hug and friendly regards to Rafa and well done amigo for helping out," said the reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion. "I invite anyone to give their support in anyway they can. Gracias."

Federer says new Davis

Cup 'not designed for me'

Federer added his heft to the growing debate around the controversial new-format Davis Cup, saying on Thursday that "this was not designed for me".

The inaugural Davis Cup finals are slated for a week in Madrid in November 2019 as part of a revamp to the competition, but it has been contentious with players.

Alexander Zverev, the world No. 5, said at the Shanghai Masters that he will not compete in the men's team event because it comes at the end of a long season.

Third-ranked Djokovic agreed on Thursday that the timing was "really bad" and he also looks unlikely to feature.

And then Federer, the 20-time Grand Slam champion, added his voice to the debate when quizzed after beating Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the Shanghai quarterfinals.

"No, I highly doubt it, of course. We'll see what happens," said the 37-year-old, who has been carefully managing his schedule since 2017 to wring the most out of his aging body. "I don't think this was designed for me, anyhow. This was designed for the future generation of players."

Djokovic said that he is backing the rival ATP World Team Cup, set to take place weeks after the Davis Cup finals, at the start of the 2020 season.

The 31-year-old said there was "confusion" with the two competing events coming so close together and being so similar.

"I just feel like the date of the Davis Cup is really bad, especially for the top players," said Djokovic, echoing the strong sentiments of Zverev a day earlier.

"Between the two, I will prioritize the World Team Cup because that's a competition of ATP. But also I think and I hope that there will be a larger discussion between the players to understand how we are going to approach these two competitions.

"Or hopefully we can make it to the point where we can have one big 'Super World Cup', if you want to call it (that), or whatever it is, because that's the best thing for our sport. But the way it seems right now, we are going to have two at the moment." — AFP


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