Rafael Nadal made the ATP Finals debut in 2006, qualifying 16 times in a row and entering the event on ten occasions. It has always been an indoor hard surface in both Shanghai and London, with the same waiting for the players in Turin between 2021-25.
From his ten trips to the ATP Finals, Nadal is yet to win the crown, losing the title matches in 2010 and 2013 to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Last week, the Spaniard defeated Andrey Rublev and Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach the first semi-final since 2015, playing well and serving for the victory against Daniil Medvedev.
In the end, the Russian turned the tables to notch a 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 win, advancing into the first final at this event and leaving Nadal empty-handed. After the match, Rafa said he couldn't speak about the surface change at that moment, reaching the semis and having the opportunity to go even further.
The Spaniard stated he has an opinion about that topic, saving it for some other discussion. Outside hard and carpet, the ATP Finals saw only one edition on grass in 1974, with no competition held on clay during these five decades.
Of course, Nadal has been saying for years that he would love to see at least a small surface change and a couple of ATP Finals on the slowest surface. Still, the ATP hasn't considered that, keeping the most common surface year after year since 2006.
Playing only six tournaments in 2020 before the ATP Finals, Nadal was fresh and ready to chase the crown in London, kicking off the action with a triumph over Andrey Rublev.
Rafael Nadal didn't want to talk about the ATP Finals surface after the loss.
In the second match, we saw a clash of titans, with Dominic Thiem prevailing over Nadal in two tie breaks, despite chances for the Spaniard in both sets.
In the last round-robin action, Rafa defeated Stefanos Ttsitsipas in three sets for the first semi-final berth since 2015, facing Daniil Medvedev in the battle for the final. As we already said, Nadal made a great start and stood close to the finish line, losing ground in the worst moment and allowing the Russian to force a decider.
Daniil had a boost now, rattling off four straight games in the third set to cross the finish line first and end Nadal's campaign in the last four. "It's not the moment to talk about the ATP Finals surface; I have my personal opinion but also have to accept the current situation.
I reached the semi-final, having my chances to go even further. I didn't play well in the moments when I could have closed the match; other things don't matter now," Rafael Nadal said.