Rafa Nadal, who has seemingly won everything under the sun except for the season-ending Nitto ATP Tour Championships which is being held this year for the last time at the O2 in London, admits that his game is not best suited for fast hard court.
The indoor surfaces have been not ideal surfaces for my tennis game since the beginning of my career Rafa Nadal
However, he is determined to improve his poor record on indoor courts as he bids to win the ATP Finals for the first time in his illustrious career which has garnered 86 titles of which only one was won on indoor hard courts in Madrid 2005.
The Spaniard has qualified for the Tour Finals every year since that date only to retired on six occasions has earned a berth at the end-of-season ATP Finals every year since that year but has been forced to withdraw on six occasions.
Speaking on Friday ahead of this year’s tournament he enumerated a number of things which have not helped him achieve his goal.
“We can find excuses or reasons but at the end of the day the numbers are the numbers,” Nadal said.
“I think I have played less indoors than in other places without a doubt.”
The second seed, who drew level with Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slams by winning last month’s French Open final, said his game was not ideally suited to fast courts.
“The indoor surfaces have been not ideal surfaces for my tennis game since the beginning of my career,” the 34-year-old Mallorcan said.
“I think I am able to play a little bit better the last couple of years indoors than what I did at the beginning of my tennis career without a doubt but that’s the numbers and I can’t say something different. I hope to change that this week.”
Last week Nadal reached the semi-finals at the Paris Masters, where he was beaten by Alexander Zverev.
The four matches he played in Paris have helped him sharpen up his game but he wasn’t sure whether he had the perfect lead up to the O2 which is being staged behind closed doors, that is without any spectators in view of the current coronavirus restrictions.
“Sad playing with no crowd in this amazing stadium,” he added. “It is something that is not perfect but we can play tennis so we can’t complain at all. We are very lucky.”
The Spaniard said the experience of playing the finals in the British capital had been “one of the best” but backed the decision to move the tournament to Turin from next year.
“I think tennis needs to keep moving,” he said. “At the same time, it’s not fair to finish the world tour finals here without crowds, with this situation but that’s the thing that is happening today in this world.”
Nadal starts his O2 campaign tomorrow, Sunday, when he faces Andrey Rublev in the evening session.