Rafael Nadal’s bad luck at the end of the year continued Saturday in Paris where the 2019 points race leader had to withdraw ahead of his semifinal against Denis Shapovalov due to an ab injury sustained during warm-up.
“We can call it unlucky, we can call it different things, but it happened today. And when things happen, the only thing that you can do is accept it. And even if it’s a tough situation for me, I need to stay positive,” Nadal said. “Finishing out like this is always a very negative thing, but the rest of the things of the week have been very positive.
“I enjoyed a lot playing here in Bercy, after a while without being able to enjoy this atmosphere in this amazing stadium, and I enjoyed playing good tennis.
“I have played three great matches, and I have been enjoying a lot being on court. So it’s tough finish like this, this event. That’s it. I need to accept, and recover well mentally and physically from that.”
Nadal now hopes to be ready for the ATP Finals in eight days, a title he has never won.
“I hope to be ready for London,” Nadal said. “That’s the biggest goal right now.
“I really hope it’s nothing too big, and the doctors believe that it’s nothing too big.”
Advancing to his second career final in as many months is Shapovalov. The Canadian who just made his first final a few weeks ago in Stockholm winning over Filip Krajinovic, will take on Novak Djokovic.
The 4-time champion Djokovic advanced to his 50th career Masters final getting through Grigor Dimitrov 7-6(5), 6-4.
”It’s a motivation every day. I feel good in such conditions, especially in France,” Djokovic said of winning a fifth in Paris. “You have a lot of support from the crowd. You could see the French players had a lot of support. I’m motivated. I want to do well tomorrow. I hope to find my best tennis.”
Djokovic leads Shapovalov 3-0 in their series.
“His game has always been there and, especially this year, he’s improved even more,” said Djokovic. “He has played some impressive tennis, yesterday especially against Monfils. I’m looking forward to the final. Hopefully I will be able to get the best out of myself tomorrow.”
With a title, Djokovic will also narrow Nadal’s lead in the 2019 points race. Shapovalov will bid for his biggest career title and win.
“It’s going to be a different match. But of course I feel like the way I played against Gael was unbelievable. It was kind of one of those days where everything was going in for me. So I hope I can bring the same kind of level that I did against him,” Shapovalov said. “But at the same time, Novak is a different player. So it’s going to be a different kind of game and it’s going to be different tennis.”
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