Rafael Nadal claimed his 22nd Major title at Roland Garros and reached the Wimbledon semi-final a few weeks later. Struggling with an abdominal tear, it was Nadal's last notable result, dealing with an injury for months and playing only six matches since August!
Rafa has lost three consecutive encounters for the first time since 2009, making a comeback in the worst moment but hoping for a better run in the upcoming duels. The Spaniard made an early exit at the Paris Masters and traveled to Turin for the ATP Finals.
Nadal arrived in Italy early and had good practice sessions. Still, he is yet to shift that level to the official matches following a 7-6, 6-1 loss to Taylor Fritz at the start of the ATP Finals on Sunday night. The American hit 22 winners and 15 unforced errors and took advantage of the Spaniard's almost 30 unforced mistakes.
Rafael Nadal lost to Taylor Fritz in straight sets in Turin.
Taylor dropped 12 points behind the initial shot and never faced a break point. Rafa saved three break points in the opener to reach a tie break, starting it with a double fault and losing it 7-3 after the opponent's forehand down the line winner.
Nadal squandered a game point in the second set's fourth game and sprayed a forehand mistake to fall 3-1 behind. The American cemented the advantage with a hold at 15 in game five and seized the fifth break chance in the next one after the Spaniard's double fault for 5-1.
Fritz served for the victory in game seven and held at 15 to emerge at the top and score his first top-3 victory. Nadal will face Felix Auger-Aliassime in the second round-robin match on Tuesday. "I did not get the right positioning in the opening set.
My serve worked well in the first part, but Taylor was hitting very strong. I need more matches at this level, and I'm practicing much better than I'm playing. At the end, this is not an ideal tournament for me to make a comeback after being sidelined for a couple of months, as you do not have time to get confidence.
Small details make a difference on this fast surface, and you face the rival from the top right from the start. Those small details usually work in favor of the more confident player, which was not my case in the last couple of matches.
I must accept that and keep working; that's the only way. Everything is fine on the practice court, and the right attitude is there. I have to improve my level during the matches," Rafael Nadal said.