Nadal says men's calendar is overloaded

Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot to Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during their match at the Sony Ericsson Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, Florida March 31, 2009. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

MADRID (Reuters) - World number one Rafael Nadal called the men’s tennis calendar overloaded Saturday but said he still felt in good shape for this week’s Madrid Open.

The Spaniard, who sustained a knee injury towards the end of last season, played 14 matches in three weeks to win clay titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome.

“It’s a fact that there are too many matches but that’s the way the calendar has been set,” Nadal told a news conference. “I am feeling fine right now, content and in good shape physically.”

The 22-year-old Mallorcan said playing the final tournament before he bids for a fifth straight French Open title at high altitude of around 650 metres in Madrid made conditions more difficult for the players.

“The way the ball bounces here is tricky,” he said. “But I have a few days to adapt and the conditions are the same for everyone. I will try to be at 100 percent for my opening match.”

Top seed Nadal has a bye into the second round and is due to play his opening match on the clay Tuesday or Wednesday against the winner of the first-round clash between Austria’s Juergen Melzer and Spaniard Albert Montanes.

Reporting by Iain Rogers; Editing by John Mehaffey