Tennis

No excuse, says Rafael Nadal after losing to Zverev in ATP Finals

Rafael Nadal refused to make excuses after being outplayed by defending champion Alexander Zverev at the ATP Finals yesterday morning (Singapore time), as Stefanos Tsitsipas got his campaign off to a flying start.

The Spanish top seed, who has never won the event, came into the tournament at London's O2 Arena under an injury cloud and was well short of his imperious best as he went down 6-2, 6-4.

Nadal faces a tough task now to qualify for the semi-finals from the group, with matches still to come against Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev.

The Spaniard has qualified for the year-end championship for 15 years in a row, but has made only eight earlier appearances due to injuries.

"The physical issue was not an excuse at all," said Nadal, the 19-time Grand Slam champion, who added that he did not feel any pain in his abdominal injury. "The only excuse is I was not good enough tonight."

Zverev, one of four players under the age of 24 at the event, said: "This means so much, playing here again after winning my biggest title so far in my career here last year. This means everything to me."

In the earlier round-robin match in Group Andre Agassi, sixth seed Tsitsipas beat Medvedev 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, admitting their spiky relationship had made his job tougher.

The Greek player said Medvedev had got "into my head" in Miami - he said the row had centred on a demand from the Russian for an apology over a net cord.

"I mean, our chemistry definitely isn't the best that you can find on the Tour," said Tsitsipas, who added that the match had been tougher because he was so desperate to win. - REUTERS, AFP

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