Set for his first competitive appearance in Turin, Rafael Nadal is hoping a change of scenery will help him recapture his best form at the Nitto ATP Finals.
“First time for me in Turin. That’s something that is great because in the end, we know different places, we are able to live different experiences, different types of fans,” he said of the event, which is being played for the second time in Northern Italy after 12 years in London.
“London has been unforgettable, great. Now Turin. The Italian crowd is super passionate. So I’m very excited about enjoying this [Nitto ATP] Finals here in Turin. Hopefully that gives me some positive feelings.”
After a personal-best start to the 2022 season, which included 20 straight wins and a record-breaking Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, Nadal has played just one tour-level singles match since the US Open as he became a father for the first time and recovered from some of the injuries he’s struggled with this season.
“I like to spend days on the Tour, first of all, and then of course the last couple of months I was not able to spend a lot of time on the Tour,” he said, speaking to ATP Media during media day in Turin. “I’m happy to be here, happy to be playing the last tournament of the year, sharing with the other Top 7. I need practices, I need improvements, but I’m happy. I’m here to try my best and to try to achieve my goals.
“Of course it’s going to be a challenge, but I hope I will be ready to give myself a chance,” he added. “That’s what I am looking for, just practising as good as possible with the right attitude and just trying to be ready for the action that’s going to start on Sunday.”
While the Nitto ATP Finals is the biggest ATP Tour event Nadal has not won in his legendary career, the Spaniard insists he does not need any added motivation to raise his game.
“I try my best in every single event. That’s true. Doesn’t matter if I won it [in the past] or not,” he explained. “When I enter a tennis tournament, I want to win and I’m going to try my best to achieve that goal. Here I was not able to make it, I was not good enough to make it in the past. So I just accept that and I’m happy to give myself another chance at the age of 36 — something, for me, that was difficult to imagine years ago.”
In addition to the coveted trophy, Nadal is also playing for the year-end No. 1 Pepperstone ATP Ranking in Turin. The Spaniard can clinch his sixth year-end No. 1 finish, and first since 2019, by winning the title in Turin. Alternatively, if Stefanos Tsitsipas does not win the title as an undefeated champion, Nadal can finish No. 1 by winning all three of his round-robin matches and then reaching the final.