The tennis world has reacted to Rafa Nadal’s helpless display against Taylor Fritz after his opening group stage loss to the American at the ATP Finals.
Nadal entered the ATP Finals in Turin off the back of a first round loss at the Paris Masters last week.
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More was expected of Nadal having had time to prepare for the event, which he has never won, and the Spaniard started brightly against the Indian Wells champ.
Fritz was the first to lift his game and was able to force a tiebreak in the first set.
And a couple of unusual unforced errors from the Spaniard saw him drop the opener in brutal fashion.
Fritz never looked back at this point.
The American, who defeated Nadal at Indian Wells, ran away with the second set with Nadal looking helpless in baseline rallies.
He also served three double faults as Fritz comfortably notched his first Green Group win 7-6, 6-1 in Turin.
The tennis world once again reacted to Nadal’s first round loss with the 22-time grand slam champ having not won a match since reaching the Wimbledon semi-final.
Frtiz’s victory also marked Nadal’s fourth loss to an American this year, having only lost seven times, in a bizarre run of form.
Nadal still has an opportunity to advance out of his group.
However, the Spaniard will need to win the remaining four games.
If he were to do that, he would also grab the World No.1 ranking from Carlos Alcaraz after his fellow Spaniard pulled out of the ATP Finals due to an injury in Paris.
The loss for Nadal has once again raised concerns from fans over how long the 36-year-old will remain on the ATP Tour.
Nadal and his wife, Mery ‘Xisca’ Perello, welcomed the arrival of their first child last month.
And many fans have speculated that the end of Nadal’s career is approaching.
However, Nadal continues to allay fears and has even signed-up for the inaugural United Cup in Australia next year.
Casper Ruud stars ATP Finals in style
Earlier, Casper Ruud claimed the first singles victory at this year’s ATP Finals with a straight-sets success over Felix Auger-Aliassime.
Third seed Ruud, the French Open and US Open runner-up, is bidding to reach the semi-finals for the second straight year having lost to Daniil Medvedev on his debut 12 months ago and put himself in a strong position with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 win.
Canadian Auger-Aliassime earned his first visit to the season-ending event thanks to a run of 16 straight victories and three consecutive ATP Tour titles in October and early November.
But, in a contest largely dominated by serve, he was unable to find the same form and a single break in the seventh game of the second set proved enough for Ruud.
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