PALMA DE MALLORCA, Balearic Islands -- One is the king of
grass, the other the king of clay. On Wednesday, Roger Federer or
Rafael Nadal will be king of both.
Four-time Wimbledon champion Federer plays two-time French Open
winner Nadal in an exhibition on a customized half-clay, half-grass
court on this Spanish island.
"It'll be fun to find out what it's like to play on a court
with mixed surfaces," Federer said Tuesday. "And it ought to be
interesting to see who chooses the better tactic."
Organizers needed 19 days and $1.63 million to create the court,
which divides the surfaces by halves for a unique match in which a
player can receive on clay and hit a winner on grass -- or vice
"The result is not the most important thing. It's about having
fun out there," the top-ranked Federer said. "It's going to be
exciting and a good atmosphere. It doesn't always need to be crazy
serious out on the match courts."
A sellout crowd of nearly 7,000 is expected at the Palma Arena
for the match, which is backed by the Balearic Islands tourism
Nadal comes from Mallorca and has the homecourt advantage.
"I like the fact that the stadium is located in Mallorca,
Rafa's home," Federer said. "He has been to Basel [Switzerland]
after all, and now I've got the opportunity to play at his place
Federer hasn't lost on grass in four years, a 48-match run that
includes four straight titles at Wimbledon.
The second-ranked Nadal has won a record 72 straight clay-court
matches, including two consecutive titles at Roland Garros in
Nadal holds a 7-3 career edge against Federer. He beat the Swiss
star 6-4, 6-4 in the Monte Carlo final on April 22 to extend his
clay court record against Federer to 5-0.
On grass, Federer leads 1-0, having beaten Nadal in four sets in
the Wimbledon final last year.
Federer has 10 Grand Slam titles, but still needs to win the
French Open to complete a career Grand Slam of all four