Rafael Nadal wants to end a remarkable 2017 by beating Roger Federer in the ATP World finals in London, a tournament he has never won. Nadal has faced Federer on four occasions this year, in the finals of the Australian Open, the Miami Open and the Shanghai Masters, as well as in the fourth round at Indian Wells, where he failed to come out trumps.
The Spaniard has won six titles in 2017, which include two Grand Slams – the French and the US Open – and has recently confirmed his place as the year-end world number one for the fourth time in his career. This season has been one to cherish for the Spaniard, his best after 2013, when he won 10 titles and looks to cap it off with finally winning the ATP finals, a tournament that has eluded him thus far.
"It would be great to finish the year playing against him again and to give me another chance," said Nadal, as quoted by the Telegraph. "You cannot forget that we played all the time on surfaces that he likes more than me. Just accept that and just find different ways to approach the match. If that happens and I am healthy enough, I hope to have my chances."
However, the road to meeting Federer is still a distant one, for which he has to qualify from his group, also including the likes of Grigor Dimitrov, Dominic Thiem and David Goffin – to reach next weekend's semi-finals. Should things fall into place, there could be another grandstand finish in the offing, given both their schedules.
Nadal is still calibrating the risk involved in participating in London after an injury scare, which saw him retire prematurely from the Paris Masters in the quarter-finals last week. Nadal's doctor confirmed that the injury was nothing new and it was just a minor knock but has been asked to carefully weigh his options going forward.
When asked if not winning the ATP Finals hurt his ego, Nadal added, "It's true that it's always in my mind, but at the same time it's always in my mind that I have qualified 13 times and have never played on a different surface to this one."
"I go day by day. I didn't play a normal session. I played one hour 30 yesterday, two hours today, one hour the day before yesterday. I am taking care and I don't force more than what I can. I can't predict what might happen in the next couple of days but my feeling is that I'm here to play and to try my best."