Rafael Nadal has been the second strongest link in men’s tennis this season behind his young compatriot Carlos Alcaraz. Rafa won two major titles at the Australian Open and Roland Garros before reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals, but did not take the points.
Despite injuries and setbacks, Nadal is still at year-end no. 1 race before the ATP Finals, standing 1000 points behind Alcaraz. Stefanos Tsitsipas is the third number of the end of the year. 1 contender, must score all five wins in Turin to overtake Alcaraz and finish the season at the top.
Novak Djokovic helped Nadal in some ways, beating Stefanos in the semi-finals of the Paris Masters and forcing the Greek to look for a perfect score in Turin to get past Nadal and Alcaraz. Rafa is no longer chasing the honors in the rankings, but he still wants to give it his all in Turin and chase the title that is missing.
Rafael Nadal will be the top seed at next week’s ATP Finals in Turin.
Nadal reached two ATP Finals title matches in the past, losing them to his biggest rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard racked up four more semi-finals and missed a big chance against Daniil Medvedev two years ago, playing well but suffering a 3-6, 7-6, 6-3 defeat.
Rafa is not among the favorites in Turin, battling an abdominal injury since Wimbledon and playing just six matches since retiring at the All England Club. Nadal made a perfect start to the 2022 season, claiming the Australian Open and Roland Garros and building his lead in the ATP Tour.
Wishing for more at Wimbledon, Rafa won five matches despite a torn stomach muscle, struggling with his forehand and retiring before his semi-final clash with Nick Kyrgios. Nadal cruised past Toronto and suffered a second-round defeat in Cincinnati, playing miles away from his best.
The Spaniard won three US Open matches before falling to Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round in four sets. Nadal was sidelined for almost two months, trying to recover from the injury and play his best in Paris and Turin.
The Spaniard suffered his earliest loss at the Paris Masters as he went down to Tommy Paul 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 in two hours and 32 minutes. Nadal probably lost the decisive points in the year-end no. 1 battle, creating a group and a rest lead before losing ground.
Paul won the second set on a tie break and dominated the third, breaking Nadal three times to control the scoreboard and earn his career-best win.