Nadal admits he’s not ready
– Rafael Nadal’s dramatic withdrawal from the ATP Finals in London leaves Roger Federer as the only megastar standing at a tournament now looking seriously short of star power.
The Spanish world No 1 produced an astonishing never-saydie performance in his opening round-robin match at the O2 Arena late on Monday despite obvious discomfort, digging deep to save four match points before eventually succumbing to a tenacious David Goffin.
With Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray sidelined through injury, Federer is the only genuine star left in London and is the clear favourite to lift his seventh yearend title at the grand old age of 36.
For all the showbiz vibe at the event, the numbers do not lie – all the remaining competitors at the tournament have a single Grand Slam title between them, compared to Federer’s haul of 19.
Nadal (above), who pulled out of the Paris Masters this month with a knee injury, said it was a “miracle” that he stayed so close to Goffin during his 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (4/7), 6-4 defeat, insisting he had done all he could.
“My season is finished,” the Spaniard said. “Yeah, I had the commitment with the event, with the city, with myself. I tried hard. I did the thing I had to do to try to be ready to play. But I am really not ready to play.”
The Spaniard, who will be replaced in the event by his compatriot and world No 10 Pablo Carreno Busta, said he hopes to be ready for the start of the 2018 season.
“I am going to work hard to try to give me more chances the next season to keep being at the top and fighting for the most important things.”
There’s no doubt that this is a major chance for somebody to step up and make a name for themselves but with Federer still alive and kicking it would take a brave man to predict the start of a new era just yet. –