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Tennis: Nadal won't play blame game if Tour Finals bid falls short

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Rafael Nadal insists he will have no excuses if his latest bid for a first ATP World Tour Finals title ends in failure.

Nadal on Monday criticised the decision to hold the ATP's prestigious season-ending tournament on indoor hard courts, first in Shanghai and now at London's O2 Arena, since 2005.

The world number one has never made any secret of his struggle to play at his best during indoor events because he feels the faster surface and unusual environment doesn't suit his style.

Nadal has never won the Tour Finals, losing his only final appearance to six-time champion Roger Federer in 2010, and has won only 10 of his 20 matches.

But the 10th victory came on Monday when he crushed world number three David Ferrer 6-3, 6-2 to open his latest bid to win the event in the kind of dominant mood that suggests this could be the year.

The 13-time Grand Slam champion has no intention of complaining if he falls short because he has enjoyed plenty of success on faster outdoor hard courts this year.

"I really like the fast surfaces. Because of my success on clay, a lot of people think that I play much better on slower surfaces. And I think that's completely not true," Nadal said.

"I have some of my best results on hard courts and fast surfaces. I won in Montreal two times. That is one of the fastest. I won in Cincinnati this year. That one is very fast. And Indian Wells is not a slow court.

"Shanghai this year was very fast and I had a great feeling playing there.

"I am happy here. The court is in perfect conditions. I think the court is the right way to see good tennis."

Nadal's victory over Ferrer left him just needing to beat Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka on Wednesday to guarantee he will finish 2013 on top of the world rankings.

But, rather than focus on the ranking battle with second placed Novak Djokovic, the Spaniard said he would prefer to win the Tour Finals for the first time because it would show he could adapt and thrive even in relatively unfavourable conditions.

"I always came here with motivation to play well. But, you know, I didn't win all the tournaments that I played in my career," Nadal said.

"For some reason you have places that the conditions are a little bit worse for you.

"I like the sunshine! It is a little bit different indoors. The feeling on the ball, on your racquet, is different. The sound is different. All of these small things that make you feel a little bit strange.

"And at the end I didn't play a lot on indoor in my career. That's another point, no?

"It is not a big deal. Just, in my opinion, the opponents have the chance to hit the ball and to go for the winners with better chances of success than in outdoor courts."

Nadal will have just 24 hours to recover before playing Wawrinka and he admitted he would prefer to have been given an extra days rest like Djokovic and Federer, who meet on Tuesday evening and don't play again until Thursday.

"I would love to have one day off because I didn't have a lot of time to prepare this tournament," Nadal said.

"But the tournament decided that the other group will have the day off, so I hope I will be 100 percent for Wednesday."

smg/nr

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131105/tennis-nadal-wont-play-blame-game-if-tour-finals-bid-falls-short