Rafael Nadal is extra motivated to win the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals in London. Why? Because it is the one big tennis tournament that is missing from his incredible career. Resume
This week in London provides a great opportunity for Nadal, the world No. 1, to nab the missing link in his career with two of his chief rivals, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, not in the field due to injuries. However, Nadal is also nursing a tender knee that has some question whether he will be able to finally break-through and win the prestigious year-end championships. Roger Federer has won the ATP World Tour Finals six times and, as the best indoor court player in the world, is the tennis betting odds favorite to win the title once again.
In seven previous appearances at the ATP World Tour Finals, Nadal has only reached the final twice, losing to Roger Federer in 2010 and Novak Djokovic in 2013. He also lost in the semifinals three times, losing to Federer in 2006 and 2007 and Djokovic in 2015, the last time Nadal played the year-end championships. In 2009 and 2011, Nadal failed to emerge from round-robin play. Incredibly, Nadal has been injured and not able to participate in the event five times, including last year.
Also missing from the Nadal career resume is the Miami Open. Nadal has been a runner-up there on five occasions – in 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017 – being points away from the title twice.
Nadal has won ten French Championships, as has been so well documented, as well as two Wimbledon titles, three U.S. Open titles and one Australian Open title. He won Olympic gold in singles in 2008 (and gold in doubles in 2016!) and led Spain to the Davis Cup title four times.
And then there are the ATP 1000 level events, in the past referred to as the “Super 9” of which some have long and storied histories and others that are starting traditions and are only prestigious now due to ATP points and prize money offered. At these events, Nadal has won in Indian Wells three times (2007, 2009 and 2013), Monte Carlo ten times, Rome seven times and also in Madrid in its two incarnations as an indoor hard event in the Fall in 2005 and as a clay event in the Spring in 2010, 2014 and 2017.
During the summer hard court season, Nadal has won in Canada three times (2005, 2008 and 2013) and also in Cincinnati in 2013.
Nadal has not won in Shanghai and at the Paris Indoors, two of the more recent additions to this elite level of events, without as much of the history and tradition as the others. Nadal, however, did also win at the German Championships in Hamburg when it was a “Super 9” event in 2008.
By comparison, the only missing titles on Federer’s resume are Monte Carlo and Rome, but has also has won all four major titles, the Davis Cup for Switzerland, Olympic gold in doubles (silver in singles) and the ATP World Tour Finals six times. For Novak Djokovic, Cincinnati remains the missing link on his career resume, in addition to an Olympic gold medal, although the Serbian did win a bronze medal in singles in 2008.