Rafael Nadal: The Reasons He'll Struggle at the ATP World Tour Finals

Chris Siddell@@siddellcCorrespondent IIINovember 21, 2011

Rafael Nadal: The Reasons He'll Struggle at the ATP World Tour Finals

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    Rafael Nadal will struggle to make a big impact at the World Tour Finals in London.  His performance against Mardy Fish has pretty much proved that, but if you still need convincing, here are a few reasons why.

    The Spaniard has never won the Tour Finals, and once again it looks like Federer and Djokovic are the men to beat in London.

    But what is it that makes the tournament so elusive for Nadal?  Why is it he is going to struggle in London?

5. Rust

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    Rafael Nadal took a few weeks off after his shock defeat in the far East in October.  His opening round robin game, against Mardy Fish, was his first match back.

    I think even the hardiest of Nadal fans will admit that Fish should not have been able to push Nadal so close.  Maybe the break was a little too long for Nadal,  and whilst he tries to shake of his rust, he is going to struggle.

4. Illness

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    Against Mardy Fish, in his opening match, Rafael Nadal didn't look his normal self.  At one point he even rushed from the court, returning looking only slightly better.

    The Spaniard admitted that he was "feeling bad in the stomach", something he will need to shake off quickly.

    In the early rounds of any other tournament, Nadal would be able to ease through, facing players a long way down the rankings.  But this is the World Tour Finals, everyone is a top player.  Nadal will need to be at his best, this stomach problem could cause him struggle.

3. Yannick Noah

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    Former French Open winner Yannick Noah has opened a metaphorical can of worms, accusing Spanish athletes of doping.

    Rafael Nadal was quick to rubbish the claims of Noah, who suggests that Spanish athletes have the "magic potion".

    The claims, which seem to lack any empirical evidence, are likely to be a publicity stunt to gain some column inches, but Nadal will still need to respond.

    With the British media more than happy to see a giant fall, they will be keen to hear what Nadal has to say on multiple occasions.  

    It's possible the distraction could take Nadal's mind away from the O2, and cause him to struggle a little.

2. Hard, Fast Courts

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    Rafael Nadal is a clay specialist.  His best tennis always has been, and always will be on the red stuff.  Any tennis fan would be happy to admit that Nadal is weakest on hard courts.  Especially indoor hard courts.

    The temporary surface inside the O2 looks quick, and will favour players like Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.  Whilst on clay Nadal would be the favourite, on the hard floor, he will struggle against Tsonga and Federer.

    Only time will tell if Nadal can battle through, like he did against Mardy Fish, but the courts will make Nadal struggle.

1. The Davis Cup

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    Just a few days after the World Tour Finals, Rafael Nadal will take the court for Spain, in the Davis Cup final.

    We have all seen how much the Davis Cup means to Spain, and especially Nadal.  After failing to reach the final last year, the Spanish, including Nadal are keen to make amends this time round.

    Facing Argentina in Seville, just five days after the tour final, it's almost certain that Nadal will have one eye on the Davis Cup.