The 2016 ATP Finals champion Andy Murray is back on the practice court after another challenging season dotted with setbacks. Unlike in the past, Andy is miles from competing at the ATP Finals after another season closed outside the top-100, watching London's matches on TV.
Making his comments about Rafael Nadal vs. Andrey Rublev clash, Andy said the Russian was going for too much on his ATP Finals debut against his idol. Nadal defeated the young Russian 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 17 minutes, bouncing back following the Paris loss to Alexander Zverev and making a winning start in his tenth ATP Finals campaign.
The Spaniard had the upper hand in their second meeting, dropping 12 points in ten service games and never facing a break point. Returning Rublev's serves with aggression, Rafa broke the opponent once in each set to claim the victory, the 19th at this event.
Dominating with his initial shot, Nadal hit 16 winners and 11 unforced errors, leaving the Russian on 19 winners and 23 mistakes. Rafa landed a service winner in almost 40% of the points behind the initial shot, forging a massive 44-28 advantage in the shortest rallies up to four strokes and standing in the court on the second-serve return to earn those two return games that carried him over the top.
The encounter kicked off with five commanding holds on both sides before securing a break when the Russian sprayed a forehand error to gain a 4-2 advantage. A service winner sent Rafa 5-2 in front, serving for the set at 5-3.
World no. 2 hit three winners to close the opener in 36 minutes, playing well and hoping for more of the same in set number two.
Andy Murray shared his thoughts about Rafael Nadal & Andrey Rublev clash.
With momentum on his side, Nadal clinched a break in the first game of the second set, holding after deuce with a service winner to move closer to the finish line.
A service winner sent Nadal 4-2 up before Rublev held at love to reduce the deficit. The Spaniard forced an error from his opponent in game eight, serving for the win at 5-4. With no sign of nerves, Rafa brought the tenth game home at 15 to cross the finish line and make a strong start in London, unlike in 2019.
"We knew it was the first time Andrey was playing at the ATP Finals. I didn't feel like it was a great match-up for him. From what I saw, it looked like he was going for too much. On the other hand, Nadal served well; it was a very comfortable win for him.
I think Andrey put more pressure on himself after a great season. He isn't used to facing the rivals from the top in early rounds, and we don't know how he prepared for the event. Maybe he didn't feel that comfortable in his preparations or on the court because it does feel a bit different there; perhaps he was a bit anxious, and we saw that in his performance.
I would expect him to play better in the next match against Stefanos Tsitsipas, leaving the tough opening match behind him," Andy Murray said.