Rafael Nadal is the second strongest 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 semi-finals at Wimbledon but failing to score.
Despite injuries and setbacks, Nadal is still the year-end No. 1 match before the ATP Finals, 1000 points behind Alcaraz. Stefanos Tsitsipas is the third year-end no. 1 contender who needs all five wins in Turin to overtake Alcaraz and finish the season on top.
Novak Djokovic helped Nadal in a way by dominating Stefanos in the semi-finals of the Paris Masters and leaving the Greek chasing a perfect score in Turin to get past Nadal and Alcaraz. Rafa is no longer aiming for the top honors, but still wants to give it his all in Turin and chase the title he’s been missing.
Rafael Nadal will be the number one seed in next week’s Turin ATP Finals.
Nadal has reached two ATP Finals title matches in the past, losing to his biggest rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. The Spaniard collected four more semi-finals and missed a huge opportunity against Daniil Medvedev two years ago, playing well but losing 3-6, 7-6, 6-3.
Rafa has not been among the favorites for Turin since struggling with an abdominal injury at Wimbledon and has played just six matches at the All England Club since retiring. Nadal had a great start to the 2022 season, taking part in the Australian Open and Roland Garros, as well as taking the lead in the ATP race.
Wanting more at Wimbledon, Rafa won five matches despite tearing an abdominal muscle, struggling with his initial shot and retiring before his semi-final clash with Nick Kyrgios. Nadal missed Toronto and lost in the second round in Cincinnati, playing miles from his best.
The Spaniard won three US Open matches before losing to Frances Tjafo in four sets in the fourth round. Nadal was sidelined for nearly two months as he tried to heal the injury and play at his best in Paris and Turin.
The Spaniard suffered his first loss at the Paris Masters after losing to Tommy Paul 3-6, 7-6, 6-1 in two hours and 32 minutes. Nadal may have missed crucial points at year-end no. 1 match, winning a set and a break before losing.
Paul took the second set in a tiebreak and dominated the third, breaking Nadal three times to control the scoreboard and claim the best win of his career.