David Goffin is not anxious at the prospect of facing Rafael Nadal in the ATP World Tour Finals in London and believes he has unearthed one weakness of the Spaniard that will help him get the better of the 16-time Grand Slam winner.
Goffin has met Nadal on two occasions in 2017, both on clay in Spain and Monte Carlo respectively,, where Nadal has come on top in straight sets. Goffin's season has been blighted by a series of injuries, starting with a twisted ankle in the French Open, which kept him out of Wimbledon. However, he came back strongly with titles at the Shenzhen Open and the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.
On the other hand, Nadal 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 Nadal, his best after 2013, when he won 10 titles and looks to cap it with finally winning the ATP finals, a title that has eluded him thus far.
However, Goffin is confident that he can pull off an upset as the game would be played on hard court, which would inhibit Nadal's strengths to a degree. Goffin and Nadal will be placed alongside Dominic Thiem and Grigor Dimitrov in Group Pete Sampras to progress into next week's semi-finals.
"First of all, it's faster on hard courts and the [bounce] is lower indoors. Rafa, he cannot slide on this surface," Goffin said, as quoted by the Express. "He's more comfortable on clay and can play higher, he can play deeper; it's really heavy when he's hitting the ball on clay so it's not easy to take the ball really early.
"Here there is no bad bounce – you can take the ball early, earlier than on other surfaces. You can do a lot more winners, so that's what I'm going to try against him in my first match.
"But it's not easy, he's such a great fighter, such a great defender and as soon as you give him a short ball it's a winner for him. It's never easy to play against him."