Rafael Nadal endured a dreadful start to his attempt to win the ATP Finals for the first time after collapsing to a 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 loss to Taylor Fritz on Sunday. He said he felt sluggish and rusty.
Rafael Nadal Loses against Taylor Fritz in the ATP Finals Opening Match
“The moment has come,” “stated the 36-year-old. “I have less time than he has to do my on-the-spot tasks. Everything seemed to be moving so quickly to me.”
The only major title lacking from tennis legend Rafael Nadal’s collection is the year-ending Finals, but after losing in straight sets, he will find it difficult to go past the round of 16.
If he wants to go to the semifinals, he presumably has to win both of his remaining matches against Casper Ruud and Felix Auger-Aliassime of the Green Group.
After suffering recent injuries, Nadal, who hasn’t competed on the circuit since the US Open in September, claimed he’s having trouble getting back into his peak shape.
“Usually, I aim to return to smaller events, “added Nadal. “Typically, you don’t have to play at your best to win a few games. If you were successful in doing so, you will be better prepared to compete against elite players.”
Nadal admitted that the aggressiveness of Fritz and the surface’s tempo bothered him.
“I was in a defensive position on the majority of the match’s points, whereas he was in an offensive position. That is what took place. I found it challenging to prevent it because you had to be quicker on your feet and quicker of thought.
That is what is happening when you return, he explained.
You must play really well on this type of surface. You are pressed for time.
After replacing the injured world number one Carlos Alcaraz, Fritz, who is competing in the Finals for the first time in his career, gave Nadal a difficult time with some aggressive play.
In the day’s other singles match, Ruud defeated Auger-Alissime 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, to win in straight sets. The top two finishers from each group advance to the semifinals, and the Norwegian is ranked below Fritz in the rankings.
After failing to break Canadian Auger-serve Aliassime’s in game seven of the second set, the world number four prevailed in a lacklustre contest in one hour and 51 minutes.
The finalist in this year’s US Open and Roland Garros served out the remainder of the set to secure the victory.
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