Rafael Nadal highlights key feature that put him ‘under stress’ during ATP Finals defeat to Taylor Fritz
Rafael Nadal was full of praise for Taylor Fritz after the American’s victory at the ATP Finals, but he admits his lack of match practice ahead of the tournament played a major role in his defeat.
The 22-time Grand Slam winner played only one singles match in two months – a defeat against Tommy Paul at the Paris Masters – before Sunday’s match against Fritz.
He initially started well as he went toe-to-toe with the American in the first set, but then fell away badly as Fritz secured a 7-6 (7-3), 6-1 victory.
Nadal didn’t have a single break point the entire game while Fritz had one in game three of the first set and another two in game seven, which were all saved the Spaniard. The ninth seed then broke in games four and six of the second seed.
.@Taylor_Fritz97 makes his #NittoATPFinals debut with a 7-6(3) 6-1 victory over No. 2-ranked #Nadal for biggest win of his career. #Fritz hit 8 aces, won 78% of 2nd serve pts and never faced break point en route to his 2nd win over Nadal this season (@BNPPARIBASOPEN final).
— ATP Media Info (@ATPMediaInfo) November 13, 2022
Nadal admitted that his lack of match practice meant he was always on the defence.
“It’s about time. Tennis and the sport in general, it’s about time,” he said. “I have less time than him to do what I want to do on the ball. I felt that everything was going so fast. When that happens, normally you are under stress, and you don’t have the time to play the kind of shot that you want.”
He added: “In most of the points of the match, I was in a defensive position, and he was in an offensive position. That’s what happened… But every single time I came back from injury, [it’s not normal] playing against top players [from] the first day. That’s what’s happens when you are coming back playing Masters 1000s and [the Nitto ATP Finals].”
The world No 2 felt Fritz, who only booked his place in the season-ending event after world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz withdrew due to injury, was the better player on the day.
“We can find different ways to explain what happened, at the end [of the day], Fritz played very well,” he said. “I was not able to handle his power. It’s obvious that in this kind of surface, you need to play very well. You don’t have time to think for a tactic… There is no time. The things are going so quick.
“Serving like Fritz served, then you are under pressure all the time. When somebody is serving that way, on the return he is going for every shot. [It was] just well played from him, not enough from me.”
Up next is Felix Auger-Aliassime, who is one of the in-form players on the ATP Tour as he won three consecutive titles in October. The Canadian, though, is also looking for his first win after he went down against Casper Ruud in the opening match of the 2022 ATP Finals.
“It’s a match like a normal tournament already, because the loser will go out of the tournament normally,” Nadal, who won his two previous encounters against Auger-Aliassime, said. “Just accept that I need to do better things. I hope to be ready to make that happen. He finished the season playing unbelievable, winning [three] tournaments in a row, playing so well. [It is] another big challenge.”
Former partner of David Nalbandian breaks her silence in explosive stalking and sexual harassment case
Nalbandian is back in the headlines once again after it emerged he is being sued by ex-girlfriend Araceli Torrado.
‘Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer always accepted defeat better than Novak Djokovic’, claims former star
A retired ATP star has weighed in on the GOAT debate and claimed “the true champion is seen in defeat”
Why Novak Djokovic’s young protégé Miomir Kecmanovic is a player to watch in 2024
Kecmanovic may only be ranked at No 55 in the current ATP list, but Kecmanovic looks ready to take his career to the next level.
Tennis legend backs Coco Gauff to win 2024 Wimbledon in Carlos Alcaraz comparison
A tennis legend would be surprised if Coco Gauff does not win another Grand Slam title next year.
Italian tennis legends and media forced into rapid backtrack after brutal Jannik Sinner criticism
Sinner’s decision to pull out of Italy’s Davis Cup squad for the Group Stage Finals in September was widely crticised by the Italian media
Carlos Alcaraz’s coach makes admission about watching ‘outrageous’ Novak Djokovic
Carlos Alcaraz’s coach Juan Carlos Ferrero has spoken about watching Novak Djokovic perform.
Renowned coach offers to make Emma Raducanu ‘bulletproof’ and help her win ‘again and again’
A coach who has worked with some huge names has made Emma Raducanu a bold offer.
Iga Swiatek’s praise for ‘undisputed leader’ Ashleigh Barty as she opens up about ‘great loss for the sport’
Iga Swiatek discusses how Ashleigh Barty’s retirement affected her career.
Novak Djokovic’s former coach predicts how long the Serbian can remain at the top level
Novak Djokovic’s former coach has discussed how long he can keep going and Jimmy Connors’ title record.
Eight players who served 500+ aces during 2023 ATP season with one big server in a class of his own
Your top ace servers for the 2023 ATP Tour season…