Many empirical and emotional considerations in 2020 will allow Rafael Nadal to feel more optimistic when he comes to London to attend the last tennis event of the season.
Nadal has 20 Grand Slams, 35 Masters 1000s, Olympic gold medals in both singles and doubles, and five Davis Cup teammates. ATP Finals, which began on 15 November, is an unusual title absent from the 34-year-old star set of 86 large and small cups. The fact that Nadal has been empty-handed at the ATP Finals so far after 16 consecutive victories, is unusual given his level. Much more complicated, as the Spanish player has only made the final twice in all these years.
There are a number of explanations for this. First and foremost, Nadal always sacrifices his stamina at the end of the season, having battled all year long, which is again the time of the tough indoor court season, including the ATP finals. Defensive play at the back of the pitch, along with injuries arising from long tournaments, held Nadal in an imperfect condition at the end of the season.
The pitch gap is the second explanation for Nadal’s bad showing at the ATP Finals. As a clay court specialist for his entire career, Nadal battled more easily against excellent competitors in the field, such as Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Statistics reveal that Nadal just beat Federer and Djokovic twice in indoor hard courts.
Also when dealing with lower rank players Federer and Djokovic, Nadal still has trouble. In the finals of the events, the Spaniard lost 37 times, up to 26 times to the hard court. Irrespective of Federer, Djokovic or Andy Murray, the record of those who beat him also has names like David Nalbandian, Mikhail Youzhny, Nikolay Davydenko (three times) or Sam Querrey. This is perhaps the only area where the number of losses in Nadal’s final is greater than the number of victories.
Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev are now the two most coveted faces of the ATP Finals 2020 championship crown. But the race is wide open to Nadal. If not this year it would be impossible for the Spaniard to win the championship at a later time.