Tagged in: ATP Finals

Zverev defeats error-prone Nadal at ATP Finals

After being thoroughly outplayed by defending champion Alexander Zverev at the ATP Finals, Rafael Nadal declined to make any excuses.

The top-ranked Spaniard wouldn’t blame the abdominal issue that forced him to pull out of the Paris Masters semifinals just nine days earlier, or a hand injury that kept him sidelined before that. And he bristled at the notion that his recent marriage could be a factor in a sub-par performance.

Something was clearly off for Nadal, though, who lost 6-2, 6-4 to a player he had a perfect 5-0 record versus before Monday’s match at the O2 Arena.

Nadal dropped his serve three straight times, didn’t force a single break point, and his normally powerful forehand was responsible for more than four times as many unforced errors (13) as winners (3). Still, Nadal insisted there was nothing wrong with him physically.

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”I did not feel pain in the abdominal at all”, he said. ”So the physical issue was not an excuse at all. The only excuse is I was not good enough tonight”.

Nadal hasn’t finished a tournament since winning the U.S. Open in August, also pulling out of Shanghai because of a hand injury.

That lack of playing time certainly isn’t helpful coming into an event featuring only the top eight players in the world, rather than lower-ranked early opponents.

He still has to face Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev in round-robin play, and probably has to defeat both in order to reach the semifinals.

For Zverev, this latest victory means he has defeated each of tennis’ Big Three in his last three matches at the O2.

The German defeated six-time champion Roger Federer in last year’s semifinals and then five-time winner Novak Djokovic in the final. “It’s definitely a place and a court that I love, and that brings maybe the best out of me,” the seventh-seeded German said.

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Federer withdraws from Paris Masters

World number three Roger Federer has withdrawn from this week’s Paris Masters on Monday as he fine tunes his schedule heading into the season-ending ATP Finals.

The 38-year-old Swiss lifted a record-extending 10th Swiss Indoors championship title in his hometown of Basel on Sunday and has decided not to play back-to-back weeks at this stage of the season.

The world No 3 did not drop a set on his way to victory on home soil, sweeping aside Peter Gojowczyk, Radu Albot and Stefanos Tsitsipas before destroying in-form De Minaur in the final.

An emotional Federer wept on court in Basel and conceded that the victory had ‘hit him hard’, perhaps contributing to the decision on Monday morning to pull out of the last Masters event of the year in Paris.

“I am extremely disappointed to have to pull out of the Paris Masters,” Federer said.

“I have to pace myself since I want to play as long as possible on the ATP Tour. “I am sorry for my French fans who I will see next year at Roland Garros.”

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The 20-time Grand Slam champion has been a regular at France’s only 1000-level event outside of Roland Garros, winning it back in 2011 and reaching the semi-finals last year before losing in three sets to Novak Djokovic.

But Federer has stripped back his schedule since coming back from injury in 2016 to prioritize his family life and cited that in his winner’s speech on Sunday, before his Paris message.

“I think it might be partially reminiscing back at everything that went on this week.

“Definitely the family, the thought of the team aspect, the family aspect, everything that goes into me still being able to do it today.

“People think I just go out there and just do it and have these types of weeks or these types of matches at will.

“But there’s so much more that goes into it, let alone managing four children, [which] is a challenge, but a good one.”

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