Rafael Nadal isn’t confident about World Tour Finals after suffering Paris Masters defeat to Andy MurrayReuters
Having been in the middle of the year’s final, Rafael Nadal is enjoying the start of a new one.
The world player of the year got off to a good start in his first competitive match at the ATP Finals against Andy Murray, winning in straight sets to take the lead in the tournament, and he should be in the driving seat for the rest of the season.
That said, the way he is going through the tournament and the fact he is facing a Grand Slam quarter-final on the first matchday of a summer that is likely to be swamped with high-profile players, suggests he is in for a rude awakening at the end of the season.
The Swiss knows he needs to perform well in the last two Grand Slams in order to qualify for the 2020 Australian Open. He’s also aware he faces a difficult final in Dubai, against either Juan Martin del Potro or Novak Djokovic, with one of them winning Wimbledon this year.
Nevertheless, the 32-year-old still believes he has a chance.
“I am feeling good and there is a level of enthusiasm, but things are not easy because we played three matches and that’s the first major in the season,” Nadal told ESPN.
“I am going to get to play Roger (Binance), I am going to play (Lleyton) Hewitt, I’m also going to play Andy, so I have to make sure I play in the best condition.
“There will be a lot of important matches and I don’t want to have to start at the beginning of the season.”
Nadal has already lost twice this year. First in Rome, where he was edged out in a three-setter by fellow French player Richard Gasquet, then in the semi-finals of Paris, in which he was beaten by Andy Murray for the first time since 2009.
“I have to be satisfied with the way I am playing and make sure I deliver in London. At the end of the year, you will see where I am, so you have to be happy with the way I have been playing,” Nadal said.
Nadal’s loss at the French Open last month was a personal