As Rafael Nadal embarks on his bid for a maiden ATP Finals title on Sunday, questions continue to be asked about the Spaniard’s ability to win on indoor hardcourts. Out of a career total of 86 singles title won by Nadal (so far), only one has come on indoor hardcourt - 2005 Madrid Open.
While speaking during his press conference in London on Friday, Rafael Nadal tackled the subject head on. The Mallorcan asserted that his relatively poor record in such conditions did not warrant ‘excuses or reasons', and that the numbers were there for everyone to see.
"We can find excuses or reasons but at the end of the day the numbers are the numbers," Nadal said. "I play less indoors if we compare to outdoors in my tennis career but at the same time it is true what you say."
The 13-time French Open champion has played in 284 tournaments so far in his career, out of which only 36 have been under a closed roof. Rafael Nadal admitted that indoor conditions don't go hand-in-hand with his unique style of play, which thrives on high-bouncing surfaces.
The World No. 2 did mention, however, that there has been a steady improvement in his indoor performances over the last few years.
“There are reasons, the indoors is not an ideal surface for my tennis since the beginning of my career,” Nadal explained. “The last couple of years has been better than the beginning of my career without a doubt but that’s the numbers and I can’t say something different.”
When it came to his record at the season-ending ATP Finals, where he has made the final on only two occasions (2010 and 2013), Rafael Nadal declared his intention to do one better this time around.
“I hope to change that this week,” Nadal said.
Rafael Nadal will begin his tournament against Andrey Rublev on Sunday.
I cannot be negative: Rafael Nadal on the COVID restrictions
The participants of the Nitto ATP Finals have been housed in the Intercontinental Hotel, which is around 200 meters away from the O2 Arena. But despite the proximity between the two venues, all the players - including Rafael Nadal - have been barred from making the journey on foot.
Nadal admitted that this wasn’t an ideal situation, but was quick to add that the players are lucky they are able to play at all.
“We are in the hotel next to the O2, different conditions, we cannot even walk from the hotel which is 200 meters away. We are very lucky to be able to keep playing our sport, that’s the only thing I can say,” Nadal said.
The Spaniard then expressed his gratitude to the ATP, the organizers and the Grand Slams for finding a way to keep tournaments running even amid the widespread COVID-19 restrictions.
"I cannot be negative, I say thanks to the ATP, thanks to the tournaments, thanks to the Grand Slams to make that happen," Nadal added. "I think these are very challenging conditions of course especially playing with no crowd in this amazing stadium it’s something that is not perfect but we can play tennis so we cannot complain at all, we are very lucky."Published 14 Nov 2020, 17:54 IST