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Shuji Kajiyama, Associated Press
Spain's Rafael Nadal gestures during a press conference at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012.

MELBOURNE, Australia — Rafael Nadal has criticized Roger Federer for letting other players "burn themselves" by complaining about tour conditions while enhancing his own reputation by rarely making negative comments about tennis.

The pair have always been respectful rivals, but the ongoing debate about the overcrowded tennis calendar has exposed a difference of opinion on the eve of the Australian Open.

After telling a pre-tournament news conference Sunday he had no intention of being the frontman for the players' grievances because it has reflected badly on him in the past, Nadal was then critical of Federer in a Spanish-language interview.

Nadal said "if the vast majority have one opinion, and a small minority think differently, maybe it's them who are wrong."