World no. 2 Rafael Nadal arrived in London on Wednesday night, preparing for the season's last event. Nadal has qualified for the ATP Finals for the 16th straight year, competing at the elite ATP event nine times and reaching two finals.
Rafa has won 86 ATP titles in a glorious career, with two of those coming with a roof above his head. Never being a fan of indoor tennis, Rafa claimed only one indoor hard ATP crown in Madrid 2005 after an epic battle against Ivan Ljubicic, failing to repeat that success for the next 15 years!
Rafa has won 18 out of 32 matches at the ATP Finals, always giving his best to win the missing title but staying empty-handed so far, wasting the biggest opportunities in 2010 and 2013 when he lost the finals to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
The Spaniard had to skip the ultimate ATP tournament in 2005, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018, embracing only four matches after 2015! A year ago, Rafa battled with Novak Djokovic for the year-end no. 1 honor, opening the ATP Finals campaign with a severe loss to Alexander Zverev.
Fighting against two other youngsters, Rafa prevailed over Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas to secure 400 points and defend the ATP throne ahead of Novak Djokovic. Despite those two victories, Nadal failed to reach the semi-final, never playing in the last four after 2015!
The Spaniard will try to change that next week, heading to London at 100% physically, which wasn't always the case in the past.
Rafael Nadal will try to win the ATP FInals title for the first time.
Nadal has won two ATP titles so far in 2020, losing the no.
1 spot to Djokovic at the ATP Cup and the Australian Open and lifting the trophy in Acapulco, just before the coronavirus outbreak. Spending the next six months at home, Nadal returned to action in Romer and Paris, suffering the quarter-final loss in the Italian capital and saving his best tennis for Roland Garros.
In Paris, Rafa conquered the 20th Major crown without losing a set, joining Roger Federer at the top of the GOAT list and demonstrating his incredible clay skills once again. After a suitable rest, Nadal decided to compete at the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals, returning to Paris as the top seed and reaching the semi-final.
Still, Rafa didn't play at his best, struggling a lot on the return in the opening three matches before experiencing a 6-4, 7-5 loss to Alexander Zverev in another failed attempt to lift the trophy under a roof. Nadal will try to fix that next week in London, facing Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrey Rublev and Diego Schwartzman on the title quest.