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Nadal confident of being ready to answer his London calling

 

Upbeat: Rafael Nadal at the O2 in London yesterday
Upbeat: Rafael Nadal at the O2 in London yesterday

By Eleanor Crooks

Rafael Nadal is hopeful of being fully fit for the ATP Finals in London.

The World No.1 was forced to pull out of the Paris Masters last weekend after suffering an abdominal injury and has been in a race against time to recover.

Speaking at the O2 Arena yesterday, he said: "I need to go day by day. I'm happy to be here because after last Saturday in Paris I didn't know if I would have the chance to be here.

"I need to see how things evolve every single day. I have good hopes to be 100 per cent ready for Monday."

Nadal does not play his first match until Monday night, when he takes on defending champion Alexander Zverev.

The Spaniard had been unable to serve because of the injury but said: "I started yesterday, very slow. I have been serving very well in Bercy (Paris), I had good matches, so I am confident that I can be very competitive but of course it's a tournament that you will face the top guys since the beginning so you need to be 100 per cent ready."

Indoor hard court has never been Nadal's favourite surface and injury has often got in the way of his participation at the ATP Finals. The Spaniard has withdrawn ahead of the tournament six times since he first qualified in 2005 and two years ago was only able to complete one match.

He insisted he is not thinking about the Davis Cup finals, which begin on November 18, but he will surely not want to miss the chance to compete in Madrid.

Another factor is the race to finish the year as World No.1. Nadal overtook Novak Djokovic on Monday but needs either to reach the final with three group wins or lift the trophy to guarantee holding on to it.

The US Open champion said: "Of course I would love to be the year-end No.1 but I always said it was not my personal goal."

Nadal is the veteran in the Andre Agassi group being at least 10 years older than Zverev, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Djokovic, Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem and Matteo Berrettini make up the Bjorn Borg group.

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