Rafael Nadal has never won the season-ending ATP Finals and injury has once again prevented him from winning the coveted title.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion is already the oldest man to finish a season at the top of the rankings at the age of 31, having previously achieved the feat in 2008, 2010 and 2013, but his hopes of winning the season-ending tournament goes on.
In fact, Nadal has only won two of his 75 ATP titles indoors, with the great Spaniard being forced out of his latest bid due to a troublesome knee injury. It is the sixth time Nadal has withdrawn from this competition in 13 years of qualifying.
Here, we look at his previous performances, starting back when the tournament was known as the Tennis Masters Cup.
2006 – Semi-Finals
Nadal beat Nikolay Davydenko and Tommy Robredo in Tokyo after losing to eventual finalist James Blake in his opening match. World No 1 Roger Federer then produced a tennis masterclass to beat the Spaniard in straight sets to reach his fourth consecutive Masters Cup final.
2007 – Semi-Finals
It was a case of déjà vu for Rafa the following year although this time he started off with a win against Richard Gasquet before losing in three sets to David Ferrer in his second group match. He beat Novak Djokovic in his final match to set up another showdown against Federer.
The Swiss superstar, chasing a fourth Masters Cup title in five years, took just 59 minutes to see off Nadal 6-4 6-1 in an emphatic win.
2009 – Round Robin
In the first year that the tournament was played at London’s O2, Nadal endured a disastrous campaign, losing all three of his group matches to Robin Soderling, eventual winner Nikolay Davydenko and Novak Djokovic.
His departure meant that Nadal had left London with a grand total of zero sets to his name over the course of the season.
2010 – Final
It appeared the Nadal had learned from his mistakes and returned a different animal the following year by winning all three of his group matches against Andy Roddick, Novak Djokovic, and Tomas Berdych before battling past the home crowd and Andy Murray in a final set tie-break to reach his first season-ending final.
But that man Federer was waiting for him in the final and it was the Swiss who ripped through the deciding set against the fatigued Spaniard to win 6-3 3-6 6-1 and become only the third man, joining Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl, to win the event five times.
2011 – Round Robin
Nadal looked out of sorts after a five-week sabbatical from the tour and after losing his opening match in three gruelling sets to Mardy Fish, Federer subjected him to one of his heaviest career defeats in the round robin stage, winning 6-3 6-0 in 60 minutes.
Despite a shoulder problem, Nadal battled on bravely in his final group match, but ultimately went down in three sets to Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
2013 – Final
Rafa was back to his menacing best and made a confident start by beating his fellow countryman David Ferrer before squeezing past dangerman Stan Wawrinka in two tie-break sets and then seeing off Czech Tomas Berdych in three.
The Spaniard produced a fine performance to confirm his supremacy over Federer in the semi-finals with a 7-5 6-3 victory to reach his 14th final of the season against Novak Djokovic.
But the Serb retained his title with a 6-3 6-4 victory over world No 1 Nadal to become the seventh player to win the year-end championship at least three times.
2015 – Semi-Finals
Nadal’s last appearance at the ATP Finals saw him reach the final four for the third time in his career after fine group wins over Stan Wawrinka, Andy Murray and David Ferrer, but that man Novak Djokovic proved to be the immovable object once again as he ran away with a handsome 6-3 6-3 success.
“Novak for the moment is almost unbeatable,” Nadal admitted. “The only thing you can do is congratulate him. But things are like this today. What Novak is doing is just amazing.”
2016 – Round Robin
Nadal pulled out after playing just one match admitting he had lost his fitness battle after crashing to defeat in three sets to David Goffin.
The Spaniard came into the tournament with doubts swirling over his fitness after pulling out of the Paris Masters with a knee injury.
The season-ending extravaganza ATP Finals at London’s O2 ends another memorable year.
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