Rafael Nadal pulls out of ATP Finals in London after losing to David Goffin
Nadal battles through pain barrier in his opening Group Pete Sampras match before pulling out of tournament
By Raz Mirza at The O2
Last Updated: 16/11/17 3:37pm
World No 1 Rafael Nadal suffered an agonising three-set defeat to David Goffin at the ATP Finals and then pulled out of the tournament due to his injured right knee.
Nadal admitted he was not training at 100 per cent following his withdrawal from the Paris Masters with a knee injury, and despite saving four match points, he was unable to play through the pain barrier and bravely went down 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 in two hours and 37 minutes.
"No, I am off," said Nadal in his post-match press conference. "My season is finished. Yeah, I had the commitment with the event, with the city, with myself. I tried hard. I did the thing that I had to do to try to be ready to play. But I am really not ready to play.
"It's about the pain," he added. "I cannot hold with enough power to keep playing. I tried, but seriously it was a miracle to be very close in the score during the match. It really doesn't make sense."
There were few surprises when he succumbed on serve in just the third game, but the Belgian, who came to the tournament as the seventh seed with two titles to his name - at Tokyo and Shenzhen - in a year which has seen him break into the top 10 for the first time in his career, failed to hold on to his advantage and was quickly reeled in by Nadal.
Goffin punched his 12th winner of the match to break through for a 6-5 lead, but a double fault gifted an immediate break back and send the set into a tiebreak.
In a fluctuating breaker, it was 26-year-old Goffin who sealed it when his opponent meekly netted on his usually venomous forehand side.
The second set was a tight affair until Goffin broke through in the eighth game, but he buckled again as nerves got the better of him.
With Nadal's knee seemingly buckling, he somehow conjured up the adrenaline to quite incredibly save four match points en route to dragging it into another tiebreak, which he won comfortably to send us the distance.
But Nadal was unable to keep up the momentum as he limped around the court, despite putting up quite a fight, to go down bravely to an opening defeat of the round-robin format.
Shot of the match
Goffin's special moment
"It was a tough fight until the end," said the world No 8. "Rafa is such a big fighter, but I'm so happy to find the key to win this match tonight - it was so special. I'm really happy. After losing four match points, I had no regrets, but I wanted to keep going. I just tried to enjoy every point. I will do my best in every match."
Towards the end of the second set Goffin got a little conservative, didn't want to make errors when he had those match points, but lets face it, Rafa was expired. Goffin did a great job of keeping his head.
Mentally, Goffin was so strong tonight. He'd never won a set against Rafa and you could see how tight he was in that opening set. Had he lost that first set I don't think he would have had a chance to win this. I was impressed with how well quick Goffin was around that court.
Nadal, who is aiming to claim a maiden title at the season-ending event, will be replaced by compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta and he will meet Dominic Thiem on Wednesday. Goffin faces Gigor Dimitrov with the winner almost certainly progressing to the semi-finals.
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Nadal v Goffin: Match Stats
|66%||1st serve win percentage||75%|
|46%||2nd serve win percentage||54%|
|19/23||Net points won||12/22|
|100||Total points won||113|
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