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Nadal wonders if hard courts too hard on players

Spain's Rafael Nadal receives treatment during his quarter-final victory over Karen Khachanov at the ATP Indian Wells Masters
Spain's Rafael Nadal receives treatment during his quarter-final victory over Karen Khachanov at the ATP Indian Wells Masters GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP
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Indian Wells (United States) (AFP)

Despite his undisputed status as king of clay courts, Rafael Nadal says he loves hard court tennis, too, he's just not sure hard courts love him -- or any other player.

The 32-year-old Spaniard was contemplating cause and effect after painful knee tendinitis flared up during his quarter-final victory over Karen Khachanov at the ATP Indian Wells Masters on Friday.

Nadal, who said he hoped and expected to be fit for a semi-final showdown with old foe Roger Federer on Saturday, wanted to be careful when asked if he thought playing on hard courts contributed to his history of injury.

"Probably it's more than 1,100 matches on tour, more than any surface," the 32-year-old Spaniard said.

But he added that cement-based hard courts, compared to clay and grass courts, do provide more of a pounding.

"I love to play on hard, but probably my body don't love it that much," Nadal said.

"And my feeling is there are a lot of players that love to play on hard, true, but their bodies don't love to play on hard, either."

Nadal noted that most other sports are played on less punishing surfaces such as grass. Although he doesn't think it will happen in his playing career, Nadal would like to see a more forgiving surface in wider use in tennis.

"It's not about only during the tennis careers that I am worried," he said. "When I see some old legends walking around the tour, it's tough."

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