Competing in the Paris Masters for the first time in four years, Rafael Nadal was the top seed at the last Masters 1000 event of the season in 2013. That season was one of Nadal's best after lifting two Major titles and five Masters trophies.
1000. After an early exit from Wimbledon, Rafa won Montreal, Cincinnati and the US Open before experiencing a remarkable fight on Chinese soil. After tight victories over Marcel Granollers and Jerzy Janowicz in Paris, Rafa reached the quarter-finals and defeated Richard Gasquet in his third semi-final at this event, facing compatriot David Ferrer in a battle for the final.
Since Monte Carlo 2011, Rafa had scored nine straight wins over David before Paris, where the older Spaniard turned things around to produce a reliable 6-3, 7-5 victory in one hour and 38 minutes. Ferrer was the defending champion and was back to playing at a high level a year later, knocking down Rafa after scoring 29 winners and 20 unforced errors.
Ferrer was the most aggressive and determined player, dominating Nadal in the shortest range up to four strokes to cross the finish line in straight sets. Rafa missed serve three times and converted one of seven break opportunities, missing the opportunity to compete in the first Paris final in six years.
David held on at 15 in the first game before Rafa put an ace on the T line for 1-1. In the third game, the older Spaniard followed suit to forge another lead and forced Nadal's error at the net to take a break a few minutes later and open a 3-1 gap.
Nadal retired from this season in August 2021
Fans at the Abu Dhabi International Tennis Complex can start preparing themselves for the return of the 2019 champion Rafael Nadal, who confirmed his participation at this year's edition of the exhibition tournament which will be played between December 16–18.
"Hello everyone, Rafa here, I am very happy to be back at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi," Nadal said the video message. "I hope to see you there." Rafael Nadal will be joined at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship by fellow ATP players including Andy Murray, Dominic Thiem, Andrey Rublev, Denis Shapovalov and Casper Ruud.
"Until things are 100% sure, I can't say much, in the end I don't know either. As I mentioned some weeks ago, my idea is to be in Abu Dhabi and play there on the 17th & 18th, and that's still my plan. However things are being analyzed week by week, as always, keeping in my mind that I want to return as early as possible, but above all I want to return being in good shape" - Rafa stated.