Nadal defiant over Finals hopes amid injury problems

Roger Federer Rafael Nadal

The tennis administrators proposed a series of rule changes and the new rules were introduced on a trial basis at the Next Generation ATP Finals in Milan in which the world's top 21-and-under singles players participated.

Federer, in London for the ATP Finals, starting on Sunday, said he had enjoyed watching the matches on TV but urged caution. That stings, and Nadal is still grumbling about the way Federer disarmed his greatest weapon - red clay - by skipping the entirety of the European clay-court season.

"Yes it's always on my mind (that I haven't won here before), it's true, but at the same time it's always on my mind that in the 13 years that I've qualified I've never played on a different surface than this one", the world No.1 smiles as he addressed reporters at the O2 Arena in London on Friday.

"But I would love to play in the final and if I play Roger then I will try my best to beat him".

The rule changes are aimed at creating a high-tempo, cutting-edge, and TV-friendly product, gearing towards attracting new and younger fans into the sport. Nadal has faced the 36-year-old, the current world number two, on four occasions and is yet to taste victory.

Nadal is struggling with a knee injury that forced him out of the Rolex Paris Masters prior to the quarters and Federer-whose back has been an issue at times-has not captured the Nitto ATP World Tour Finals title since 2011.

French Tennis Federation director Christophe Fagniez told ESPN that he wants the board to ask itself whether allowing coaching during matches would harm tennis and debate the principle of it.

He is one of three first-timers with Dimitrov finally qualifying after being long-predicted to become a regular member of the men's elite. If we don't try anything, then you cannot say that that works better or that works worse.

Federer, meanwhile, landed in the Becker group with two more first-time competitors in talented German youngster Alexander Zverev and unseeded Paris winner Jack Sock. It's like you play one day on, you play one day off. He's now lost seven straight sets to Federer. We don't normally get to see that. That's an incentive for players to do the right thing. The top seeds from each group progress through to the semi-finals, where they then go head-to-head with the runner-up from the corresponding group.

Yet between them they have returned from injuries and defied Father Time by dominating the year - Federer winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon to reach 19 majors, with Nadal taking a 10th French Open and the U.S. Open.

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