This year Rafael Nadal is finally hoping to be able to break the taboo ATP Finals, a tournament that never brought him luck due to its surface and its position at the end of the season. Out of a total of 86 career titles won by the Spanish phenomenon, only one has reached indoor hard courts (Madrid 2005).
The former world number 1, who reached 20 slams this year thanks to yet another success at Roland Garros, boasts two finals at the O2 Arena in London (in 2010 and 2013), but in both cases he was defeated respectively against Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
The 34-year-old Spaniard did not go beyond the semifinal in Paris-Bercy, where he surrendered to a wild Alexander Zverev, failing to extend the contest to the third set. During last Friday's press conference, Rafa admitted that his indoor numbers are well below the standards he has accustomed us to throughout his career.
Nadal on his poor record in indoor tournaments
"We can find excuses or reasons but at the end of the day the numbers are the numbers," Rafael Nadal said. "I play less indoors if we compare to outdoors in my tennis career but at the same time it is true what you say."
The World No. 2 did mention, however, that there has been a steady improvement in his indoor performances over the last few years. “There are reasons, the indoors is not an ideal surface for my tennis since the beginning of my career,” Nadal explained.
“The last couple of years has been better than the beginning of my career without a doubt but that’s the numbers and I can’t say something different”. Nadal admitted that this wasn’t an ideal situation, but was quick to add that the players are lucky they are able to play at all.
“We are in the hotel next to the O2, different conditions, we cannot even walk from the hotel which is 200 meters away. We are very lucky to be able to keep playing our sport, that’s the only thing I can say,” Nadal said.
"I cannot be negative, I say thanks to the ATP, thanks to the tournaments, thanks to the Grand Slams to make that happen," Nadal added. "I think these are very challenging conditions of course especially playing with no crowd in this amazing stadium it’s something that is not perfect but we can play tennis so we cannot complain at all, we are very lucky."