Rafael Nadal will have to wait at least another year to win his first career title at the ATP Finals. Despite having expressed a very high level during the tournament, the Spanish phenomenon surrendered in the semifinals to the future champion Daniil Medvedev.
The number 4 in the world has been the author of a crazy comeback from 3-6 4-5, with the 34-year-old Majorcan unable to close the match in the second set. For the 20-time Grand Slam champion, it really seemed like a good year, so much so that Rafa himself admitted he had missed a huge chance having presented himself very fresh in London.
Many fans even believe that one of the reasons Nadal failed to win was the absence of the crowd. However, former World number 1 Andy Murray disagrees with this reflection. The Brit believes that the crowd would not have affected the performance of a legend like Rafa.
The Iberian can console himself by having equaled the Grand Slam record of his eternal rival Roger Federer.
Murray on Rafael Nadal
“For someone like Rafael Nadal, I don’t think that crowd affects him that much,” began the enthusiastic Andy Murray.
“Because I think he has got such a great mentality, his energy, and his stuff on the court is always really really good. He has got a great attitude”. Murray admitted that the crowd behind Rafa could however be dangerous for his opponent.
It could act as an extra advantage for Rafa, especially when his opponent was in a pressure situation. “If the crowd is behind him, it can sometimes have an effect on the opponent. In big moments. a break-point, it’ll be different when you step up on the line and all the crowd would be making a big noise, getting behind you know Rafa,” added Murray.
Murray reiterated that crowds really didn’t affect Nadal’s performance by citing the example of the French Open 2020. All the fans saw how brilliantly he played when all the odds from the crowd to conditions were against him.
“I don’t think it affects Rafa’s performance too much. As we saw in this year at the French Open this year, there was no crowd but he still dominated,” concluded Murray. Even with the season coming to an end and the status of the 2021 calendar still up in the air, Rafael Nadal is determined to prepare during the off-season with the same motivation as he always has.
"That's the goal of every year. My motivation [has] been always the same. Next year is going to be an important year. I hope to be ready to fight for the things that I want to fight [for]. I'm going to work hard during the off-season to be ready for the beginning."