Rafael Nadal finished the year on top at No. 1, and that won’t change at the upcoming ATP Finals which begin tomorrow. However, Nadal is after two more goals this week in London.
Nadal has never won the year-end title, an event rival Roger Federer has taken seven times.
“Yes it’s a goal in my mind, I’ve qualified 13 years,” Nadal said. “Of course being here is an important thing but for me, it is what happens during the year, competing in tournaments, almost every week with a very competitive level of tennis, and being healthy.”
Nadal is winless on the season against Federer at 0-4, and has lost his last five to the Swiss. Though Rafa points out, he never played Roger on the clay.
“No I don’t need to beat Roger for good confidence,” Nadal said. “I’ve won enough to be confident. If I play him here it would be great to finish the year playing him again to give me another chance.
“We cannot forget that we played all the times (in 2017) on surfaces that he likes more than me. I just accept that and find different ways to approach the match and if that happens (in London), I’m healthy enough so I hope I have my chances.”
Of course facing Federer again this week would also be on a fast hardcourt possibly next weekend in the semifinals or the finals.
First, on Monday Nadal will meet David Goffin who he beat twice on the clay this year.
“After what happened to him at Roland Garros, it would be really unfair if he was not here,” Nadal said. “I’m very happy to see him recovered and playing well. Hopefully he won’t play that well on Monday but he’s 100 percent here and he deserves to be.”
Goffin, who’s qualified into his first ATP Finals, said playing Nadal off clay should help.
“First of all, it’s faster on hard courts and the [bounce] is lower indoors. Rafa, he cannot slide on this surface. He’s more comfortable on clay and can play higher, he can play deeper; it’s really heavy when he’s hitting the ball on clay so it’s not easy to take the ball really early.
“Here there is no bad bounce – you can take the ball early, earlier than on other surfaces,” added Goffin. “You can do a lot more winners, so that’s what I’m going to try against him in my first match. But it’s not easy, he’s such a great fighter, such a great defender and as soon as you give him a short ball it’s a winner for him. It’s never easy to play against him.”
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