After being defeated by David Goffin, Rafael Nadal withdrew from the ATP final in London citing a recurrent knee injury. Nadal’s injury forced him out after two matches in Bercy last week. Now, on the banks of the Thames it collapsed again under his vigorous hitting. Goffin cashed in after blowing four match points to win 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-4 in two hours and 36 minutes. This end-of-season title is the only significant bauble in the game to elude Nadal. At 31, he might go through his trophy-heavy career regarding it as his personal hell. “I am off,” he said matter-of-factly.
“My season is finished. I had the commitment with the event, with the city, with myself. I tried hard. It is about the pain. I cannot hold with enough power to keep playing. It was a miracle to be even close to the score.”
Nadal spoke on his future and prospects of making it for the Australian Open in January. He said: “I know what I have to do. I know the periods of time that I need to work. If the treatment works or not, we will see. The good thing is it is nothing new. Everybody on my team has the right experience [to deal with the injury]. We hope to manage it, to have the right rest, the right work, and to try to be ready for the beginning of the next season.”
Goffin was heroic and profligate, as was the Spaniard. But it was the Belgian who held it together for the best result of his career. “It was a tough fight,” Goffin said. “Rafa is such a big fighter, one of the strongest players mentally on the tour. To do it here was really special. I’m looking forward to coming back in two days. After the second set, after losing four match points, I don’t know. I just wanted to keep going in the third, enjoy every point to the end. It’s not over yet.”
Nadal has won more than a hundred matches in his career from a set down. Unfortunately, today was not one of those days. When Goffin smacked a startling forehand across Nadal’s static bow to go 5-3 up in the second, the match was his to lose. Stepping up to serve for the upset, he could not have been more imbued with confidence. This clearly meant that Nadal’s injury was hampering him