MELBOURNE: Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray agree with Roger Federer that playing the Australian Open in February would make more sense.

“It is a very good option, I would love to have the first Grand Slam of the season a little bit later,” Nadal said on Saturday, two days out from the start of the Australian Open.

“I can’t talk for rest of the players, but I think the feeling for everybody is the same: you start the season and after one week you are playing one of the most important tournaments of the season.”

Federer said earlier this week that the Australian Open should be pushed back to rejig the lead-up tournaments to possibly include back-to-back events in the Middle East before an extended Australian swing.

Wimbledon also?

Murray agreed, but said the period ahead of Wimbledon also needs adjusting.

“There’s a few things with the calendar that I think all the players would like to see happen,” Murray said. “I think having the Aussie Open a couple of weeks later ... would make sense.

“For me, likewise with the grass-court season. There’s not too much time in between the French Open and Wimbledon either.”

Organisers of the Australian Open, the first of the year’s four majors, don’t want to move the tournament back because the existing slot coincides with the national summer holidays.

Surfer woman

Coming from land-locked Serbia, it’s no surprise that Ana Ivanovic likes to the opportunity to surf while in Australia, taking advantage of some of the island continent’s vast coastline.

She arrived Down Under in late December, and based herself on the subtropical Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane in Queensland state. While there, she often surfed in and around her training sessions.

Now that Ivanovic, who lost last year’s Australian Open final to Maria Sharapova, is in Melbourne, the closest surf beach is about 90 minutes away.

“I would love to, maybe after the tournament,” Ivanovic said Saturday.

One thing holding her back is concern over three shark attacks on humans on Australia’s east coast in the past 10 days.

“All these shark attacks got me a little bit scared,” she said, nervously laughing. — AP

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