Rafael Nadal’s Chances of ATP Finals triumph Looks slim after recent defeats in Turin
By Kwadwo Larson
Rafael Nadal is out of the Nitto ATP Finals after Casper Ruud's victory over Taylor Fritz. Nadal, 36, has played the season-ending event 10 times but has never won. The only major title which the Spaniard has not yet obtained in his illustrious career. As he continues to battle to stay healthy towards the latter stage of his career, will the King of Clay ever win an ATP Finals ?
Rafael Nadal has never had any issue in booking his name at the season-ending championships. The Spaniard has qualified 15 times but has only competed in 10 times, the biggest hurdle in his quest is staying healthy. History shows, This is clearly not Nadal’s best time of the season, it never has been. Indoor hard courts are his least successful surface and over the last four or five years, he has rarely made it to the ATP Finals without a scare.
Last year the 22-time grand slam champion did not feature in the inaugural edition of the Turin Nitto ATP finals. His last appearance at this tournament was when it was held in London, back in November 2019. The run-up towards this year's event was similar to previous years, with injuries lingering over the Spaniard. rib injury at Indian Wells, a foot problem in Rome, and an abdominal injury in the summer that seems to have taken longer than expected to recover from. Prior to the start of the ATP finals, Nadal has only played one singles match in the last two months.
With defeat to Felix Auger-Aliassime in his second match at the ATP Finals, Nadal has now lost four singles matches in a row dating back to his fourth-round exit at the US Open. His defeat to Frances Tiafoe would eventually lead to a streak of losses. Chances of winning the ATP Finals for the first time are over for another year even before his final group match against Casper Ruud.
Over the last five years, Nadal has evidently shown his fighting spirit and it would be foolish to ever write him off. A prime example is this year's historic 21st grand slam title in Melbourne. His Australian Open victory came after four months off the tour,with potential consideration of retirement. The Spaniard was also in doubt to compete at the French Open with persistent foot pain. but still won for a 14th time. Even at Wimbledon, he made the semi-finals despite zero competitive preparation on grass.
Many tennis fans would most likely concur with this evaluation, that these statements are not controversial or asinine. Even at his peak Nadal was not regularly challenging at the ATP Finals, and had only reached the finals on two occasions, 2010 & 2013. The focus for Rafael Nadal now is to ensure he is healthy and ready to defend his Australian open title come the start of 2023.
Rafael Nadal finishes the 2022 as the world No.2 fellow Spaniard Carlos Alcarez has achieved the honorable accomplishment by finishing as the end of year world No.1