'Rafael Nadal was passive, and they killed him,' says Ivan Lendl

Rafael Nadal lost the opening two matches at the ATP Finals

by Jovica Ilic
'Rafael Nadal was passive, and they killed him,' says Ivan Lendl

An eight-time Major champion Ivan Lendl will try to achieve more good results with Andy Murray in 2023. The Briton had some notable runs in the season behind us, and he wants more of that in the new season. Lendl spoke about modern tennis and the fact you have to play aggressive tennis to stand any chance.

The Czech mentioned Rafael Nadal and his passive approach at the ATP Finals against Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassime. Lendl described Nadal's losses as tough ones, saying the rivals killed him on the court. Nadal missed two months due to an abdominal injury, resting after the US Open and returning to action at the Paris Masters.

Rafa wasted a set and a break lead against Tommy Paul in the second round for an early exit. Nadal wished for a better run at the ATP Finals in Turin, but it was not to be for him. With no form or matches, Rafa fell to Taylor Fritz and Felix Auger-Aliassime in straight sets and experienced four consecutive losses for the first time since 2009!

Nadal experienced a 7-6, 6-1 loss to Fritz in an hour and 37 minutes. The American beat the Spaniard for the second time this year after the Indian Wells final. He prevailed in the opener and dominated set number two for a winning start to his ATP Finals journey.

The younger player made the difference with the second serve, never facing a break point. He missed his chances on the return in the opener before building an early advantage in the tie break and bringing it home. As in Paris, Nadal lost ground in the second set and experienced breaks in games four and six to propel the rival over the finish line.

Felix was the favorite against Rafa and scored a 6-3, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 57 minutes.

Rafael Nadal did not play well at the ATP Finals in Turin.

The Canadian blasted 15 aces and defended all five break points to keep his serve intact and mount the pressure on the other side.

The Spaniard gave his best to stay in touch, but it was not to be for him. Rafa hit four double faults and gave serve away once in each set to propel the youngster over the finish line. Felix had a massive 31-16 advantage in service winners and built his victory in the shortest range up to four strokes.

Nadal played better in the extended rallies but needed more to keep himself safe until at least one tie break. Auger-Aliassime dictated the pace with 29 winners and 23 unforced errors. Rafa failed to impose his serve or forehand, finishing the match with 12 winners and 19 unforced errors.

"Andy is trying to be more aggressive, but that's not necessarily because of the injury. There are many other reasons for it. The game has moved forward. You must be more aggressive these days if you can not stay back. Look at Rafa at the ATP Finals. He was passive, and they just killed him," Ivan Lendl said.

Rafael Nadal Ivan Lendl Atp Finals