LONDON. – The spirit was as strong as ever but Rafael Nadal’s troublesome knee failed him in the end as the Spaniard quit the ATP Finals after a painful defeat by Belgium’s David Goffin on Monday night. Nadal, at 31 the oldest tennis player to finish a year ranked number one, fought until the last point, saving four match points in a compelling Pete Sampras Group clash, before losing 7-6(5), 6-7 (4), 6-4 in two hours and 37 minutes.
World number eight Goffin, the first player from Belgium to qualify for the year-ending tournament in its 48-year history, was a bundle of nerves at times but finally steadied himself to put Nadal out of his misery with his 14th ace. Nadal could be seen grimacing as the match wore on, especially when he was forced wide or low, but he still managed to scrap his way back from 4-1 down in the decider, despite apparently playing on one leg. Minutes after defeat, the 16-times grand slam champion told reporters that he was pulling out of the tournament.“My season is finished. I had a 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,” Nadal said. – Reuters.