Rafael Nadal (L) and Felix Auger-Aliassime (R)

Rafael Nadal steps up ATP Finals pursuit with second practice session alongside Felix Auger-Aliassime

Rafael Nadal is busy preparing for the 2022 ATP Finals and has stepped up his pursuit of a maiden title at the year-end championships with a second practice session in Turin, this time with Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The former World No. 1, who had a poor showing at the recently concluded Paris Masters, was seen practicing his skills with the Canadian in a recent video posted by the ATP on social media.

World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz withdrew from the tournament due to injury, making Rafael Nadal the tournament’s top seed for the fifth time. The Green Group is led by the 22-time Grand Slam winner, along with Taylor Fritz, Casper Ruud, and Felix Auger-Aliassime. The Red group, meanwhile, includes Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, and Novak Djokovic.

“‘Doubt’ is one of his favorite words” – Steve Flink on Rafael Nadal’s prospects at the ATP Finals

Nadal hopes to clinch the ATP Finals trophy for the first time
Nadal hopes to clinch the ATP Finals trophy for the first time

Rafael Nadal has qualified for the season-ending competition 17 times in total and has been ranked in the ATP Top-10 players since 2005. This year, however, Nadal is not on the list of favorites to win the tournament, given his recent performances and ongoing injury issues.

Journalist Steve Flink commented in a recent interview that the World No. 2 might face danger from the rest of the competition, mainly because he didn’t play many matches in the run-up to Turin.

“Rafa talked about the need to play more matches, he talked about getting to Italy early to play practice sets but practice sets are nothing like playing real matches. It just helps you but it is not the same thing,” Flink said. “So it was unfortunate that he didn’t get more matches in Paris in advance of Turin to give himself a better chance because the field has so much depth. It’s going to be such a hard-fought event and both groups of four players each are going to be exceedingly strong.”

Flink also acknowledged that the 22-time Grand Slam champion was the least at ease indoors, but lauded him for constantly pushing through his doubts, noting that he still believed the Mallorcan’s persistence would make him tougher to defeat.

“So it’s going to be hard for Rafa because he has always been the least comfortable indoors. He could well prove me wrong. He’s is one of these guys who, no matter how many negative comments he makes, ‘doubt’ is one of his favorite words, he overcomes his doubts. I still think we’ll see him go in with the usual fighting spirit. So he’ll still be hard to beat but I don’t like the conditions. It tends to be fast in Turin, ” he added.

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Edited by Shyam Kamal

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