World Tour Finals player profile: No. 5 Rafael Nadal

Season in review
: For the first time since 2004, Nadal failed to win a Grand Slam title. He did not even triumph at a single Masters 1000 event. He had no winner’s trophies above the 250-point level (Buenos Aires and Stuttgart) before getting the job done on the clay courts of Hamburg in early August. The fifth-ranked Spaniard has since sustained a much-improved level of play–albeit, of course, not up to the standard of previous years. Nadal is an encouraging 14-4 since blowing a two-set lead against Fabio Fognini in round three of the U.S. Open. The 14-time major champion reached finals in Beijing in Basel, the semifinals in Shanghai, and the quarters in Paris. On the biggest stages–not unlike this one at the O2–Nadal has flopped so far in 2015. He did not advance past the last eight of any slam and even fell in the second round of Wimbledon to Dustin Brown.

2015 record: 58-19
Fall record (post-U.S. Open): 14-4

Best tournament: Basel final
d. Lukas Rosol 1-6, 7-5, 7-6(4)
d. Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
d. Marin Cilic 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
d. Richard Gasquet 6-4, 7-6(7)
l. to Roger Federer 6-3, 5-7, 6-3

Biggest win at different tournament: d. Stan Wawrinka 6-2, 6-1 in Shanghai quarterfinals

World Tour Finals appearances: 6
World Tour Finals record: 13-11
Best World Tour Finals result: Runner-up (2010, 2013)

Record against other World Tour Finals qualifiers: 123-53
vs. Novak Djokovic: 23-22
vs. Andy Murray: 15-6
vs. Roger Federer: 23-11
vs. Stan Wawrinka: 13-3
vs. Tomas Berdych: 19-4
vs. David Ferrer: 23-6
vs. Kei Nishikori: 7-1

Quotable: “I always believed that I was going to be in the top eight at the end of the season. I always thought that I was going to qualify…. It is a different feeling [this year]. I had a lot of problems during the whole second part of the season last year. In general, I feel that is past. I was able to improve during the whole season, especially the last couple of months. I am playing better and better. I feel that I am enjoying it again…. The atmosphere (at the O2) is just amazing and I am very happy it is there. I enjoy it every time I have had the chance to be there…but we can play on clay there, too.”

Outlook: It is impossible to jump for joy over Nadal’s prospects at the World Tour Finals. He has never won the thing and has only twice reached the final–during his incredible 2010 and 2013 campaigns. But, hey, at least he is in London this year (he was sidelined last season by an abdominal injury). Furthermore, his outlook is much better than it was at earlier points in 2015. Nadal said recently that he is in a far superior mental state than in previous months, and his recent results speak for themselves in that regard. On the downside, he is 3-9 against his fellow London competitors this season and two of the three wins have come on clay.

11 Comments on World Tour Finals player profile: No. 5 Rafael Nadal

  1. I agree that the group is all important for Rafa. I enjoyed reading this write up and like the idea of profiling the eight players who made it to the WTF this year, along with this detailed representation of their record this year.

  2. I posted a link to a LIVE STREAM of “2015 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Official Launch and Draw” in the “World Tour Finals seedings set” thread.

  3. Ricky,

    That is encouraging coming from you. Sometimes I am not as sure what is best for Rafa. I think if he can keep up playing the way he’s been lately, then he just might do something here.

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