Rafael Nadal qualified for the ATP Finals for the first time in 2005. The Spaniard never claimed the prestigious title, struggling to play at his best under a roof in the season's closing stages. Rafa has qualified for another edition of the ATP Finals in Turin, but his titles chances are very slim in a couple of weeks.
The Spaniard has been dealing with an abdominal injury since July, withdrawing ahead of the Wimbledon semi-final and playing only six matches since! Despite that, the 22-time Major winner will travel to Turin and give his best to achieve a good result.
Nadal experienced an early Paris Masters loss and will travel to Italy early to prepare and get used to the court. Nadal suffered a 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 loss to Tommy Paul in the Paris Masters second round, playing his first match as a father and ending on the losing side.
Rafa had a set and a break lead before Tommy erased the deficit, prevailing in the second set and dominating the decider for a career-best victory. Nadal did not look good in the final set, struggling physically and gathering dark clouds over his next tournament after losing serve three times.
Rafael Nadal will try his best at the ATP Finals in Turin.
Paul served at 57% and experienced three breaks to find himself in a challenging position early on. The American turned 42% of the return points into five breaks that carried him over the finish line.
Tommy had 29 winners and 27 unforced errors, taming his strokes nicely and attacking the net. He took advantage of Rafa's 35 unforced errors and forced a decider, where it was all about him. Paul played great at the net and built the lead in the shortest range up to four strokes, thanks to his aggressive approach.
Settling into a nice rhythm after pulling the break back, Tommy claimed the second set's tie break 7-4 after forcing Rafa's error and gained a massive boost. Nadal netted a routine forehand to lose serve at the start of the final set and missed his opportunity to pull it back in the fourth game.
The Spaniard sprayed a volley error in game five to lose serve, playing with no energy and struggling to move. Paul delivered his third break of the set at 5-1 and emerged at the top with a volley winner for a career-best victory.
"I need days on the Tour after not spending enough time on the court for the last five months. It's about more than just playing matches but practicing with guys, missing that too. If everything goes well and I feel fine, I will travel to Turin a bit earlier than usual and embrace practice sessions," Rafael Nadal said.