Rafael Nadal has capped off a stupendous run on clay by not just creating records at Monte Carlo, Barcelona and the French Open but also by becoming the first to qualify for the year-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London. Nadal has had a strong start to the season racing off to 46 matches won and losing six including a marathon five-setter against Roger Federer at Melbourne Park in the Australian Open. A game more and Nadal would have won the title there too. But as things stand, the gap between Federer and Nadal in Grand Slam titles won is now down to three.
In the race for qualification for London, Federer is second in line after winning Masters 1000 titles at Indian Wells and Miami. However, he opted to sit out the entire clay court season during which Nadal won four titles. The Swiss player will now return to action at the Stuttgart Open this week.
“I’ve had a great season so far and I am happy to have already qualified for London,” Nadal told ATP’s official website. “I could not play last year because of injury so I look forward to returning in November.”
Nadal has never won the ATP World Tour Finals falling one short in 2010 and 2013 losing to Federer and Novak Djokovic respectively.
Austrian Dominic Thiem is third in the ATP race to London, followed by Stan Wawrinka, Alexander Zverev, Djokovic, world number one Andy Murray, and Belgium’s David Goffin. The tournament to be held at the O2 Arena in London brings together the top eight singles and doubles players and begins on November 12.
Players qualify for the tournament by earning points throughout the calendar year with the top eight going through in the end. The cutoff date for the calendar is November 6 when the World Tour regular season concludes after the Paris Masters.