Rafa Nadal starts today against Rublev the last challenge

“We can find excuses, but the numbers are what they are. I also think that I have played fewer ‘indoor’ tournaments than on other courts, although it is true that it has not been the best surface for my tennis. I hope to change that this week ”, he analyzes Rafael Nadal.

That is his latest challenge, this season and also his career in the sense that his record lacks mainly this title, which is played on a hard court and indoors, the elements that make Nadal’s own tennis more difficult. and that, on the contrary, they tend to underline the qualities of their worst rivals.

Nadal tries for the tenth time, of the sixteen times that he won the right to participate, but injuries left him out on six occasions and also weighed down other editions in which he did compete. It usually arrives with a significant load of matches that does not occur now, in a campaign limited by the coronavirus. It will be his seventh tournament of the course, fourth after the break for the Covid-19. Add 30 games, 25 won and 5 lost.

Heads the London Group 2020, named as a tribute to a venue that will give the baton to Turin, after taking it from Shanghai in 2009, as a projection of the 2012 Olympic Games. It will be opened today Sunday by the protagonists of the last final, the champion Stefanos Tsitsipas and Dominic Thiem.

Not before 9 o’clock at night, Nadal on stage, against a debutant but who is the leader of titles (5) and triumphs, the Russian Andrey Rublev. “The most fit player”, warns the Balearic, 34 years old and No. 2, about his opponent, 23 and No. 8. If the pupil of the Spanish Fernando Vicente It did not reach the top eight before due to injuries, back and wrist.

“A good start, I know, is important,” says Nadal, recalling that in 2019, coming from an abdominal problem, from spending days without being able to work his serve, he crashed into Alexander Zverev, which limited his options. They were not worth the two subsequent group victories, after a heroic comeback against Daniil Medvedev and being the only one to beat Tsitsipas.

Winning counts, but also each set and, just in case, it is better not to deliver games just because in a tiebreaker to three the detail can be unbalancing.

Nadal has the record in favor with Rublev (1-0 / 2017 US Open quarters 6-1, 6-2 and 6-2)), Thiem (9-5) and Tsitsipas (5-1). In dispute, two places to cross the semifinals with Grupo Tokio 1970, a name that refers to the inauguration, which marks the 50th anniversary. At the head of it, the world No. 1, Novak Djokovic, who equaled the six seasons as the final king of the ranking of his benchmark, the American Pete sampras. Six is ​​the same number that ‘Nole’ as aspiration to reach the record for crowns of Roger Federer in the ATP Finals. The Serbian stayed at five in 2015.

Since then, the golden campaign of the British Andy Murray, initialed in 2016, the surprising success of the Bulgarian Grigor dimitrov (2017), the consecration of the German Alexander Zverev (2018) and the emergence of the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (2019). The ‘Big 3’ does suffer under these conditions and in three sets.