Sports

Nadal can't guarantee fitness for ATP Finals

Nadal can't guarantee fitness for ATP Finals

The 31-year-old, forced to pull out of the Paris Masters last week with a knee injury, is painfully aware that the ATP Finals is the one major piece of silverware missing from his trophy cabinet and he wants to put that right.

The 36-year-old Swiss returns as a hot favourite for the Nitto ATP Finals title and made a satisfactory start with a 6-4, 7-6 victory over Jack Sock in his opening group match.

The 25-year-old will be looking to give a good account of American tennis, becoming the first United States player to feature at the event since Mardy Fish back in 2011.

Former British players Tim Henman and Andrew Castle, speaking on the BBC's coverage, chipped in on Sunday.

Sock started the second set in style, holding to love in a game sealed by a stunning cross-court forehand that left Federer stranded. If he's here, that's a very good sign. "I did what I believed was best for my happiness, for my tennis career and for my results", he said.

"I'll miss it for sure, but I will also have a great time back in Mallorca". He limped and even dragged himself around the court. I've got a metal hip, the hip is bad news. I'm very anxious about Andy's future in the game because of the area that is clearly troubling him. It was not easy to come back from my injury. When I did my calendar, I was clear in my mind that I would not do a different calendar to be No. 1.

"It was a big distraction", said Federer. 'There's no Masters 1000 event on grass and one indoors.

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He added, "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".

Sock had arranged to play golf at Augusta this week, so remote were his chances of making the field.

This will be the first time the Bulgarian is set to appear at the ATP Finals after he achieved a career-high world number six position.

That was the only break point for either player in the first set. Federer tried to guide the ball past him and succeeded only in poking the ball into the net.

Rule changes include a shorter format with first-to-four-games sets (tie-break at 3-3), a shorter warm-up, a 25-second shot clock used between points, no line judges, player coaching and no doubles lines on the court.

In his debut in London, Goffin will open his campaign against Rafael Nadal on Monday.


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