Rafael Nadal may not have ended his year with a win, but it is undeniable that he has completed one of the greatest comeback seasons in the history of the sport. The Spaniard regained the No. 1 ranking in September and complied a 75-7 record with 10 titles, including two Grand Slams and five Masters 1000 titles, which is remarkable considering he had been sidelined for the majority of 2013 and the beginning of 2013 due to a potentially career-threatening knee injury.
Rafa arrived in London looking to capture the only major title missing from his cabinet of trophies but was once again unsuccessful as Novak Djokovic would win the year-end championships for the third time in his career. The Nadal-Djokovic rivalry is quickly becoming the most significant one on the ATP tour as the two top players have met a record 39 times, which is extraordinary – particularly when you consider all of those meetings were in the later stages of the biggest tournaments on the tour.
“I think is amazing playing 39 times,” Nadal said on his rivalry with Djokovic. “What’s happening the last five, six years, four years, is just amazing that the same players have been competing for every tournament, every single important tournament of the year. So that’s something that didn’t happen very often in the history of our sport. We are in a special moment of the history of tennis. I don’t say that’s a better moment than others, but is special for this fact. So I don’t know for how many years we will have the chance to repeat that situation.”
The world No. 1 toppled Djokovic at on three occasions this year, the French Open, Montreal and the US Open but lost to him on three occassions as well, two of which are their most recent meetings (Beijing, and the ATP World Tour Finals). Nadal believes the odds will favour him at the beginning of next year, when he attempts to challenge the defending champion at the Australian Open.
“Is a little bit more favorable court for me,” Nadal said. “I gonna try to prepare myself as good as I can.”
The Spaniard will not be resting in the off season as he is scheduled for an exhibition match on Necker Island as well as a few in South America. He will also meet his rival in Buenos Aires for a special exhibition match.