Nadal avoids war of words
Miami - Rafael Nadal says only his team - and not Madrid Masters boss Ion Tiriac - knows the precise details of his upcoming clay court schedule.
And the Spaniard, who is still duelling for a title at the Miami Masters, has defused reports that he will skip Madrid next month.
Prickly billionaire Tiriac, a former Romanian player, has said that he fears Nadal will give the May 9-16 event in the capital a miss to save his delicate knees for the French Open.
While neither confirming or denying his presence, Nadal's answer was short but sweet: "Ion Tiriac probably doesn't know if I play Madrid, or not - but it's on my schedule.
Despite missing time last season and more time early in 2010 to rest his knee tendinitis, four-time Roland Garros winner Nadal has laid down his usual ambitious clay calendar.
He begins in around ten days in Monte Carlo, carries onto home ground in Barcelona, then follows onto Rome and Madrid before Paris begins on May 23. He has only two weeks of rest during that period then goes immediately onto grass at Queen's club, London the day after Paris ends.
Many trace the current rankings slide of the former No. 1 to a massive semi-final he played against Novak Djokovic in Madrid last year, which stretched well into the evening hours.
He then came back the next day and lost the final to Roger Federer 6-4 6-4, a win which helped propel the Swiss to his first French Open title a few weeks later.
Madrid also has an inherent disadvantage due to its high altitude as compared to the rest of the European clay venues on the road to Roland Garros.