Nadal ad­mits he’s not ready

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - SPORT -

– 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. –

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