22-time Major champion Rafael Nadal trains at home in Mallorca ahead of the ATP Finals. Nadal experienced an early loss at the Paris Masters, hoping for a better run in Turin as he chased one of the rare notable titles he is missing.
Rafa is still at no. end of the year. 1, being 1000 points behind Carlos Alcaraz and needing a deep run in Turin to get past the young compatriot. Nadal reached two ATP Finals title matches in the past, losing them to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
The Spaniard racked up four more semi-finals and missed a big chance against Daniil Medvedev two years ago, playing well but losing 3-6, 7-6, 6-3. Nadal missed last year’s ATP Finals and appears eager to compete next week despite trouble with an abdominal injury.
Rafa skipped the second part of 2021 and started again this year.
Rafael Nadal trains before the ATP Finals.
The Spaniard won the Australian Open and Roland Garros and reached the Wimbledon semifinal. Instead of chasing a third consecutive Major crown, Nadal withdrew before the Nick Kyrgios clash due to a seven-millimeter abdominal tear, losing ground and still struggling four months later!
Rafa skipped Toronto and lost in the second round at Cincinnati. He won three matches at the US Open, but pain prevented him from getting the best out of him. Frances Tiafoe defeated Nadal in four sets in the fourth round, and it was the Spaniard’s last singles match last week.
Rafa returned to the Paris Masters and suffered a 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 loss to Tommy Paul in two hours and 32 minutes. Nadal was a set and a break in front before Paul rallied in the second set and claimed it in the tiebreak.
Struggling physically, Nadal faded from the court in the decider, losing serve three times and hitting the exit gate. Tommy lost serve three times to fall behind. Still, he converted 42% of return points in five breaks, enough to survive the second set and dominate the third.
Paul had 29 game winners and 27 unforced errors, controlling his shots well and attacking. He took advantage of Rafa’s 35 unforced errors and built the advantage at the shortest range to four shots, thanks to his aggressive approach.
Nadal hit a routine forehand to lose serve early in the final set and missed his chance on the return in the fourth game. The Spaniard made a volleying error in game five to fall behind 4-1 and propelled the opponent over the finish line after the American’s volley winner at 5-1. Rafa will be the top favorite in Turin after the loss of Carlos Alcaraz.