Last year, Rafael Nadal reached his first ATP Finals semi-final in London since 2015. Rafa played well against Daniil Medvedev and forged a 6-3, 5-4 lead, serving for victory in game ten. Rather than advance, Nadal lost serve at the crucial moment to keep the opponent alive and suffered a tough 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 loss.
Rafa lost another tight clash against Dominic Thiem in the free-for-all stage, falling 7-6, 7-6 despite having chances in both sets. Nadal's coach Carlos Moya said it was a shame Nadal couldn't fight for the London title, losing crucial points to Thiem and Medvedev, which is rarely the case in his matches.
The Austrian claimed his sixth victory over the Spaniard after a thrilling 7-6, 7-6 win in two hours and 25 minutes. As in Melbourne in January, Thiem won the deciding points against Nadal, fending off two set points in the opening and erasing a deficit break in the second to prevail in straight sets and become the seventh player with six wins over him 20 times.
Major champion. There were only two service breaks in games seven and eight of set number two, with two opponents standing side by side and producing excellent tennis that was worth the title clash. Nadal defeated Tsitsipas in the final free-for-all match to advance to the final four and had it all under control against Medvedev before falling in three sets.
“The ATP Finals were a shame, as I think Rafa had a chance to reach the final and fight for the title. Those tense moments often work to his advantage, but that wasn't the case against Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem.
Things are developing rapidly on a court as fast as London, and two or three key moments will decide the winner among the highest ranked rivals."
Rafael Nadal tested positive
In an exclusive interview with Marca, former World No.
2 Alex Corretja backed Rafael Nadal to win another Grand Slam title. "Rafa will retire being a winner, whatever happens. No matter how he was before, he has to assess how he wants to face what he has left from now on, but being Rafa you always have the feeling that he still has a bullet in his chamber to do something great," said Corretja.
"You can never doubt special people like him, even if he comes from a very long injury and the process that he will have now will be difficult, I trust that there is still that great title to celebrate with him. A great title I mean a Grand Slam, because a Masters 1,000 more or less is not going to change anything," added the former World No.
2. Rafael Nadal tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday after returning to Spain following his run at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. The Spaniard is scheduled to feature at an ATP 250 event in Melbourne kicking off on January 4, though that is now unlikely.