The curse of Rafael Nadal at the ATP World Tour Finals
Rafael Nadal has won almost everything there is to win in tennis, but one of the things missing from his trophy cabinet is the ATP World Tour Finals, and he won’t be adding that title to his collection this year.
The Spaniard has never had the desired luck when it comes to the tournament, having reached the final on just two occasions.
Injury has played a part in his failure to play at some Finals as he has often been forced to skip the entire tournament, including this year’s showpiece event at the O2 Arena, while in 2017 he played only one game before pulling out due to his long-standing knee injury.
Having featured in seven different Tour Finals, Nadal has made it to the final just twice, losing to Roger Federer in 2010 and Novak Djokovic in 2013. Despite having qualified for the last 14 tournaments, Nadal has had to pull out of seven of the Finals due to injuries.
Since the tournament made its switch to London in 2009, the contest has been played on indoors hard courts, and while Nadal is undoubtedly one of the greatest athletes in the history of the game, his strongest area is clay.
He is not known as the King of Clay for nothing as 11 of the Spaniard’s 17 Grand Slams have come at the French Open, with four coming at hard court events, three at the US Open and one at the Australian Open.
One of Nadal’s biggest disappointments was in 2008, when on the back of one his best years as a pro, the world No 1 was forced to pull out of the Finals in Shanghai and the Davis Cup final tie against Argentina. Following his Olympic gold medal and his wins at Wimbledon and Roland Garros, Nadal was forced out of the season’s final two tournaments with tendinitis in his knee.
2010 was a similar year for Nadal, he repeated his French Open and Wimbledon success, he ended the year as No 1 yet again but fell short in the Finals to Federer in London, after a three-set showdown.
The form of the 32-year-old has never been an issue, his consistent top 10 finishes for the last 13 years always make him a favourite ahead of the tournament.
It is the one prize he is still to add to his impressive CV, but the wait will continue for at least another year after he was again forced to skip this year’s tournament, this time an abdominal injury and ankle surgery forced him to pull out.
Declan Campbell (@Decdpc)
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