The ATP Finals, the great thorn in Nadal’s career

The ATP Finals, the great thorn in Nadal's career

It is his great thorn. Without a doubt. Champion of 20 Grand Slam, plus Masters 1000, Davis Cup and Olympic gold, to Rafael Nadal there is a special tournament that is denied. Although there are three pending M1000s in his record, the Spanish could never be crowned “Maestro” and in fact He is the only man who failed to win the ATP Finals of the 11 longest-running world No. 1s.

Nadal started out playing the year-end ATP Masters in Shanghai and then played it in London. The left-hander from Manacor, who comes from tying the Swiss Roger Federer with the record of 20 cups in the Majors, thanks to his record of 13 crowns on the clay of Roland Garros, participated nine times in the contest that brings together the eight best of the year at its closing, but never won it.

The current No. 2 in the ranking reached two finals and lost both, 2010 to Federer and 2013 to Serbian Novak Djokovic. Meanwhile, he reached the semifinals three more times and was eliminated four times in the round robin. So far, in total, between the groups, semis and finals, his record in the ATP Finals is 18 wins and 14 losses.

Two reasons prevailed, in general, so that he did not perform at a high level more than once and that he could never consecrate himself as “Master”. The speed of the surface and the fact of being played indoors conspires against his style of play and does not make him feel comfortable, while on some occasions he felt annoyed by physical wear, having reached the final stretch of the year tired.

In one way or another, the fact that Nadal is denied that title is strong, the same one won by colleagues who led the ranking for more weeks. The Spanish is the sixth with the longest time at the top of the ranking, created in 1973, and the only one of the 11 highest kings who never conquered the final Masters, which has been held since 1970.

The world’s top 11 No. 1s and their ATP Finals titles:
Roger Federer: 310 weeks and 6 titles
Novak Djokovic: 294 weeks and 5 titles
Pete Sampras: 286 weeks and 5 titles
Ivan Lendl: 270 weeks and 5 titles
Jimmy Connors: 268 weeks and 1 title
Rafael Nadal: 209 weeks and 0 title
John McEnroe: 170 weeks and 3 titles
Björn Borg: 109 weeks and 2 titles
Andre Agassi: 101 weeks and 1 title
Lleyton Hewitt: 80 weeks and 2 titles
Stefan Edberg: 72 weeks and 1 title

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