In the early summer Rafael Nadal usually heads from Paris to London in good form, usually on the back of winning Roland Garros but is never a firm favourite.
Most of the time the Spaniard’s season ends with a trip to Paris followed by an appearance at the tour finals in London but on his eighth and final appearance with the event held in London could he finally break his duck at the tour finals?
The problem is, indoor hard courts are not his thing.
He doesn’t always play in Paris, since 2010 has only played in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019. Appearing this year in Bercy was the first time in successive years since 2009 but hasn’t won there yet in his career.
In those four years since 2010 he has played in Paris he has gone onto play in London on those years too but has found success tough to come by.
Part of the problem is the conditions of an indoor hard court and the pace and power players create is too much.
I saw him against Zverev in Paris and the German had him where he wanted hitting 37 winners compared to Rafa’s 17 and there is only soo much hanging about you can do on an indoor hard court.
Rafa celebrated 1000 tour wins the other day but I do only think success in London will come if everyone else has a bad day. I look at the field and I fancy Thiem, Djokovic, Zverev, Tsitsipas and Medvedev in best of three against him.
The last time Rafa won an indoor hard court event? 2005 Madrid Masters, before the days it was played on clay.
Outside of wins at the O2 the last time Nadal beat a top ten ranked player on an indoor hard court was Paris 2013 against Richard Gasquet.