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Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal

“We can find excuses but the numbers are the numbers” Rafa Nadal exclusively reveals why he trails Federer & Djokovic in career stat


The world No 2, Rafael Nadal, has a surprisingly modest record indoors (only two of the 86 titles he has won have been at indoor events), though that is hardly surprising considering the schedule he chooses to play.

 

Rafael Nadal has failed to win a single title at the indoor ATP Tour Finals

Rafael Nadal has failed to win a single title at the indoor ATP Tour Finals

 

With the uncertainties caused by the coronavirus pandemic no players can be 100 per cent sure where they will be playing in 2021, but it can be said with some assurance that Rafael Nadal will be keeping his appearances at indoor tournaments to a minimum.

Of the 145 tournaments Nadal has played in the last 10 years – excluding Davis Cup, Laver Cup and exhibition events – only 14 have been indoor events. Those indoor appearances comprise six at the year-end ATP Finals, five at the Bercy Masters in Paris, two at Basel (in 2014 and 2015) and one at an indoor clay-court event in Sao Paulo in 2013.

 


 

“We can find excuses or reasons but at the end of the day the numbers are the numbers”

 


 

 

“We can find excuses or reasons but at the end of the day the numbers are the numbers,” Nadal said when tennishead asked him about his comparatively poor record at indoor events. “There are reasons. Indoors has not been an ideal surface for my tennis since the beginning of my career, though the last couple of years have been better than the beginning of my career without a doubt.”

The only indoor titles Nadal has won were in Madrid in 2005 (before the tournament’s switch to outdoor clay) and in Sao Paulo in 2013. However, he has performed better indoors in the last two years, having reached the semi-finals in Paris in 2019 and 2020 and the same stage of this year’s Nitto ATP Finals in London.

 

Rafael Nadal looks perplexed at the ATP Finals in London in 2019

Rafael Nadal looks perplexed at the ATP Finals in London in 2019


 

Novak Djokovic’s figures are midway between Nadal’s and Federer’s

 


 

While Nadal has been playing only 10 per cent of his tournaments indoors over the last decade, his great friend and rival, Roger Federer, has been making 18 per cent of his tournament appearances indoors over the same period (24 indoor events out of a total of 131 tournaments in the same 10-year period). The Swiss clearly thrives in the perfect conditions under cover: of the 103 titles he has won in his career, 26 have been at indoor events.

Novak Djokovic’s figures are midway between Nadal’s and Federer’s. The world No 1 has played 13 per cent of his tournaments indoors over the last 10 years (19 out of 145). Although he has won 13 of his 81 career titles indoors, only one of those has come in the last five years, when he won in Paris in 2019.

 


 


Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal
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