Nadal on Sunday claimed the 16-time grand slam champion should be doing more to support growing complaints over the running of the professional tour.
The Spanish world No 2 on Monday stood by his comments but admitted he should have aired his disapproval with Federer directly – and privately.
“What I said I said. Probably I am wrong telling that to you (the press), especially because these things can stay, must stay, in the locker room,” Nadal said after cruising into the second round of the Australian Open in Melbourne. “I always had fantastic relationship with Roger. I still have fantastic relationship with Roger.
“That’s what should be, in my opinion. Don’t create crazy histories about what I said yesterday, please, just because we can have different views about how the tour needs to work. That’s all.”
In his unexpected outburst on Sunday, Nadal suggested to Spanish media that Federer was remaining silent on the issues worrying fellow players while his rivals were being “burnt” for speaking out.
“It’s easy to say I do not say anything, everything is positive and I stay ‘a gentleman’ while others burn,” Nadal said. “We each have our opinion and perhaps he likes the circuit. I like it too and it is better than the majority of sports. But that does not mean it can’t be better and that things which are bad cannot be changed.”
A winner of 10 grand slam titles himself, Nadal maintained on Monday night that he didn’t need to apologise to Federer.
“Forget (it). I do not talk anymore,” he said. “During the two weeks, you can try very hard to ask me a lot of things.
“Yesterday I started and I say I don’t want to talk anymore about this. Finally I talked too much – as usual. That’s not going to happen again.”
Players met new men’s tour chief, former Australian player Brad Drewett, on Saturday and are reportedly unhappy over Davis Cup scheduling and their share of prize money at the grand slam tournaments, among other issues.
Nadal has long advocated changes to the calendar and last year said strike action could not be ruled out.
Former world No 3 Nikolay Davydenko also weighed into the affair on Monday, agreeing with Nadal that Federer was not taking a leading role over the issues at stake.
“I don’t know why Roger doesn’t support players. I don’t know why. Because he doesn’t do any problems. He’s a nice guy,” the Russian said.
“He’s from Switzerland. He’s perfect. He don’t want to do anything. He just tried to be outside from this one.
“But he was sitting in the (players’) meeting (on Saturday). He just listened to everything.”