Rafael Nadal is out of the Paris Masters after being beaten by Tommy Paul – and the Spaniard isn’t betting on winning the ATP Tour final either.
Paul, ranked world No. 31, cruised to a 3-6 7-6(4) 6-1 victory over world No. 2 Nadal, who had not played since teaming up with his longtime rival Roger Federer at the Vat Cup.
Down after the first set, the American bounced back to break Nadal at love for 2-2 in the second.
Paul then broke Nadal’s serve three times in the deciding set to seal the win, robbing the Spaniard of a chance to return to the top of the world rankings.
“I think he played aggressive, a lot of good shots. I had my match in that second set with set and break,” Nadal said after the match. “Yeah, I didn’t deserve the win playing so badly[ly] at this key moment, no.
“Until then it was ok, a good game for me. Knowing that this is my first game for a while,” he said. It was Nadal’s first game since he and his wife had a son last month.
The 22-time Grand Slam winner, who appeared injured against Paul, added that he was hoping to qualify for the ATP Finals in Turin, Italy, and had “nothing to lose”.
The prestigious end-of-season ATP Finals take place from November 13-20.
It’s a tournament Nadal has already qualified for with his ranking position, albeit remarkably given the Spaniard has won those 22 Grand Slam titles he’s never triumphed in the ATP Finals, although that he reached the final twice.
“Just give me a chance to enjoy another World Tour final, right? You never know when the last one will be, especially at my age. So I’m going to do my best to enjoy this one and then the Next year, of course, I will fight to be back,” the 36-year-old said.
“I have to put everything into perspective, and I’m just going to keep doing my best, and I have to be healthy enough to spend days on the tour. That’s it.”
Nonetheless, Nadal didn’t seem confident about his chances in Turin, adding that it’s “hard to imagine coming to the World Tour Finals now in shape, in good enough shape to win a tournament like this that I haven’t not won in my entire tennis career.