Nitto ATP World Tour Finals

ATP Tour Finals Is Missing Link For Rafael Nadal

by Bob Stockton

The year-end Nitto ATP World Tour Finals is the missing link on the career resume of Rafael Nadal. It is the biggest tournament in tennis that the Spaniard has not won, going 0-8 in the eight times he has qualified and been healthy enough to play in the elite eight-player year-end event.

Nadal – whose favourite surface is clay – has challenged the leaders of the ATP through the years to make the event – at least in some years – be played on clay (his favourite surface). He has said in the past, “A good player has a chance to qualify for the Tour Finals four or five times in his career. If during this four years you have a different surface every year, a minimum one time he will have the chance to play on his favourite surface”.

However, there are clear drawbacks to moving the event to clay. Players would have to immediately acclimatise to clay after months of playing on a hard court and there are challenges with the climate, but it would probably be fairer for everybody. However, if the event moved to South America, for example, there could be a chance for the event to be played on clay with it being warmer in the Southern Hemisphere during this time in the calendar and there could be a clay-court circuit leading into the finals, like there is a clay-court circuit there after the Australian Open a few months later.

Federer – an indoor, hard-court specialist – went the other way, stating that there should be more of an indoor season and that having a big event on a faster indoor surface is important for the balance of the sports.
“I just feel indoors doesn’t have enough play,” he said. “The indoor season is small. I believe indoors deserves a huge event, which this one is.”

Interestingly, the only time the year-end championships were not played on an indoor court came in 1974 when Guillermo Vilas won the title in Melbourne, Australia on grass courts at Kooyong Tennis Club.

This infographic was originally found on the The Insider, a blog by Betway

Rafael Nadal Seeks Missing Link On Career Resume at Nitto ATP World Tour Finals

Rafael Nadal is extra motivated to win the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals in London. Why? Because it is the one big tennis tournament that is missing from his incredible career. Resume

This week in London provides a great opportunity for Nadal, the world No. 1, to nab the missing link in his career with two of his chief rivals, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, not in the field due to injuries. However, Nadal is also nursing a tender knee that has some question whether he will be able to finally break-through and win the prestigious year-end championships. Roger Federer has won the ATP World Tour Finals six times and, as the best indoor court player in the world, is the tennis betting odds favorite to win the title once again.

In seven previous appearances at the ATP World Tour Finals, Nadal has only reached the final twice, losing to Roger Federer in 2010 and Novak Djokovic in 2013. He also lost in the semifinals three times, losing to Federer in 2006 and 2007 and Djokovic in 2015, the last time Nadal played the year-end championships. In 2009 and 2011, Nadal failed to emerge from round-robin play. Incredibly, Nadal has been injured and not able to participate in the event five times, including last year.

Also missing from the Nadal career resume is the Miami Open. Nadal has been a runner-up there on five occasions – in 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017 – being points away from the title twice.

Nadal has won ten French Championships, as has been so well documented, as well as two Wimbledon titles, three U.S. Open titles and one Australian Open title. He won Olympic gold in singles in 2008 (and gold in doubles in 2016!) and led Spain to the Davis Cup title four times.

And then there are the ATP 1000 level events, in the past referred to as the “Super 9” of which some have long and storied histories and others that are starting traditions and are only prestigious now due to ATP points and prize money offered. At these events, Nadal has won in Indian Wells three times (2007, 2009 and 2013), Monte Carlo ten times, Rome seven times and also in Madrid in its two incarnations as an indoor hard event in the Fall in 2005 and as a clay event in the Spring in 2010, 2014 and 2017.

During the summer hard court season, Nadal has won in Canada three times (2005, 2008 and 2013) and also in Cincinnati in 2013.

Nadal has not won in Shanghai and at the Paris Indoors, two of the more recent additions to this elite level of events, without as much of the history and tradition as the others. Nadal, however, did also win at the German Championships in Hamburg when it was a “Super 9” event in 2008.

By comparison, the only missing titles on Federer’s resume are Monte Carlo and Rome, but has also has won all four major titles, the Davis Cup for Switzerland, Olympic gold in doubles (silver in singles) and the ATP World Tour Finals six times. For Novak Djokovic, Cincinnati remains the missing link on his career resume, in addition to an Olympic gold medal, although the Serbian did win a bronze medal in singles in 2008.