Tempo - - Sports -

LONDON (AFP) – Rafael Nadal pulled out of the ATP Fi­nals on Mon­day, ad­mit­ting he had lost his fit­ness bat­tle af­ter crash­ing to de­feat in three sets to David Gof­fin in a thrilling en­counter. The world num­ber one dug deep but was stunned 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (4/7), 6-4 by Gof­fin in his open­ing match of the end-of­sea­son fi­nale, which he has never won in his il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer.

The Spa­niard came into the tour­na­ment with doubts swirling over his fit­ness af­ter pulling out of the Paris Masters with a knee in­jury.

Ini­tially he showed no ob­vi­ous ill-ef­fects dur­ing a roller­coaster round-robin en­counter in front of a sup­port­ive crowd but even­tu­ally his in­jury caught up with him and forced him to ad­mit his sea­son is over.

“No, I am off,” said Nadal. “My sea­son is fin­ished. Yeah, I had the com­mit­ment with the event, with the city, with my­self. I tried hard. I did the thing that I had to do to try to be ready to play. But I am re­ally not ready to play.”

Nadal said he would work hard to be ready for the start of the next sea­son.

Nadal, 31, strug­gled to find his range early in front of a rau­cous crowd root­ing for him and was bro­ken twice in the first set by the Bel­gian sev­enth seed, who had lost their pre­vi­ous two en­coun­ters.

The Spa­niard ap­peared to have earned a psy­cho­log­i­cal edge when Gof­fin dou­ble-faulted while serv­ing for the set and the match went into a tiebreak but the Bel­gian re-found his fo­cus to come out on top.

Ear­lier, also in the Pete Sam­pras group, Grigor Dim­itrov held his nerve to beat Do­minic Thiem, 6-3, 5-7, 7-5.

The el­e­gant Bul­gar­ian had the edge for most of an en­thralling con­test of one-handed back­hands but ad­mit­ted he felt ‘‘pretty ner­vous’’ in his first ap­pear­ance at the ATP Fi­nals.

The sixth seed, who has en­joyed the best sea­son of his ca­reer, looked wob­bly as he blew his chance to serve for the match at 5-4 in the de­cider only to hit back im­me­di­ately as Thiem him­self fal­tered and go­ing on to seal vic­tory on his third match point.

The ATP Fi­nals fea­ture the top eight fit male sin­gles play­ers and dou­bles teams that have ac­crued the most points through­out the 2017 sea­son.


DAVID Gof­fin cel­e­brates his stun­ning 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (4/7), 6-4 win over world No. 1 Rafael Nadal.


Rafael Nadal waves to his sup­port­ers as he heads to the dugout.

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