Rafael Nadal stays ahead of Roger Federer, extending ultimate ATP Finals record

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Rafael Nadal stays ahead of Roger Federer, extending ultimate ATP Finals record

The ATP has released the most positive tennis news in months, reshaping the official calendar with 13 post-coronavirus tournaments. From November 15, eight best players of the season will compete at the ATP Finals for the 12th and last time at the O2 Arena in London, with the premium ATP event moving to Turin from 2021.

The ATP has confirmed three players who have qualified for London, announcing Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem as the earliest stars in London. The 19-time Major champion Nadal has punched the ATP Finals ticket for the incredible 16th straight year, extending his own record that will take some beating in the future.

Roger Federer is the record holder with 17 qualifyings for the ATP Finals, followed by Rafael Nadal and Jimmy Connors on 16. Despite some ups and downs at the beginning of the last season, Nadal bounced back to challenge Novak Djokovic for the ATP throne.

Rafa suffered three straight semi-final losses on clay in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, like never before in the past 15 years. With no room for errors, the Spaniard won the title in Rome and clinched the 12th Roland Garros crown, adding 3000 points to his tally.

Rafa repeated that in Montreal and New York, controlling the ATP Race before the year's closing events. At the US Open, Rafa prevailed against Daniil Medvedev in five sets for the 19th Major crown, moving one behind Roger Federer.

Carried by that momentum, Nadal finished the year ahead of Djokovic, securing the fifth year-end no. 1 honor and crowning the season with the title for Spain at the Davis Cup in Madrid. The ATP Cup was Nadal's first stop in 2020, leading Spain into the final together with Roberto Bautista Agut.

Rafael Nadal has secured the ATP Finals spot for the 16th season.

Novak Djokovic beat him to secure Serbia's title before Dominic Thiem ousted Rafa in the quarters at the Australian Open, handing the ATP throne to Djokovic who celebrated the eighth crown in Melbourne.

After a suitable rest and trips to South Africa and Kuwait, Nadal claimed the 85th ATP title in Acapulco at the end of February, competing in the last tournament before the coronavirus pandemic and flying back home from Indian Wells to stay with his family.

After a lot of thinking, Nadal has decided to skip the US Open, training on clay and preparing a comeback in Rome or Paris, chasing that 20th Major title and more trophies and records in the plagued season that should still bring drama and excitement.

Nadal has won 18 matches at the ATP Finals, struggling in the closing stages of every season and missing the prestigious title. Rafa lost in the final in 2010 and 2013 to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, skipping the event no less than six times.