Rafael Nadal set a positive tone following his early exit at the Rolex Paris Masters, looking forward to his 11th appearance at the Nitto ATP Finals, which begins on November 13. The Spaniard has always kept perspective after losses, and that held true Wednesday after a 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-1 loss to Tommy Paul in what was Nadal’s first match as dad.
“I’m excited to play [in Turin], even if it hasn’t been the perfect months for me, of course,” said Nadal, who will seek his first title at the ATP Tour season finale. “But yeah, nothing to lose. After a good year, going there, giving my best.”
While Nadal has spent time on the practice court since the US Open and competed in doubles alongside Roger Federer at the Laver Cup, he has been missing the usual grind of life on the ATP Tour.
“In the end I need days on the Tour,” he said at a press conference. “It’s true that for the last five months I haven’t spent enough days on the Tour. I’m not even saying competing on a tennis court; I’m saying on the Tour, practicing with the guys. That’s what I need. I’m going to try- [if] nothing happens, if I feel good, be there [in Turn] a little earlier than usual and have some practices.
“Just give me a chance to enjoy another [Nitto ATP] Finals. You never know when he’s going to be the last, especially at my age. So I’m going to do my best to enjoy this one, and then [the] the next few years, of course, I will fight to get back there”.
After a red-hot start to the 2022 season in which he won four titles, including at the Australian Open and Roland Garros, Nadal has played just six matches since Wimbledon and is now 38-6 on the year.
While he said it was “hard to imagine” himself winning his first year-end trophy this season in his current form, Nadal took some positives from his showdown with Paul in Paris.
“Certainly a lot has happened in the last few months,” he reflected. “But we are always ready to find excuses, but in the end it is always the same. You play well, you win; if not, you lose. And today at times, putting everything in one package, I was playing pretty well.”
While he praised the American, he also regretted letting his lead slip away in the second set.
“I had my match in that second set with [a] set and break,” he said. “I played a terrible game there. Yes, I did not deserve the victory playing so badly at that key moment, no. Until that moment it was good, a good match for me, knowing that it is my first match for a long time.”
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