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Rafa Nadal And Roger Federer Race For Tennis ATP Number One • Either Way Nike Wins

By Francisco Resendiz


Roger Federer dotted the sideline sealing a pulsating comeback conquest of Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final that signaled the rebirth of the Roger vs. Rafa rivalry.


Hitting his hard-court stride, Nadal is determined to cross the season-ending finish line first.


Nine years after he first finished as year-end No. 1 for the first time, Nadal is aiming to complete the feat for the fourth time in his career.


If he does it, the 31-year-old Spaniard would equal Novak Djokovic’s mark of holding the year-end top spot four different times.


Rafael Nadal of Spain in action during his men’s singles final match against Nick Kyrgios of Australia at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing, China, 08 October 2017. EPA-EFE/WU HONG

Nadal, who arrived in Shanghai holding a 2,370-point lead over the second-ranked Federer in the rankings, is energized by the quest to finish No. 1.


“That happens, will be I think a very important achievement for me, no?” Nadal told the media in Shanghai. “Will be No. 1 four times in my career end of the season with so many years of difference I think is something very difficult.


“But remain work to do. I have probably one of the toughest opponents that you can have to achieve that thing, and especially in this part of the season. He likes to play in the surfaces that we’re gonna play, indoor, and here that the court is very fast. So probably he is maybe more favored than nobody else, these kind of surfaces.”


Federer, who has finished as year-end No. 1 five different times, said his goals shifted after the US Open.


“Because he’s playing so well, it’s going to make things more difficult, but after he won the US Open, clearly (regaining No. 1) was not the goal,” Federer said. “The goal was always to stay healthy and stay in the chase possibly, you know, but I know that if I want to finish world No. 1 I’ve got to win here and World Tour Finals and Paris and Basel, whatever it may be.


“It becomes more and more unlikely, which is totally fine, because I never entered this season with the goal being world No. 1. It was really unfortunate for me that I hurt myself in Montreal, because then that would have been a cool race maybe going on in Cincinnati, even if I would have lost, and then into the US Open feeling better. Unfortunately it never happened.”


Traditionally, the indoor environment has presented the most challenging conditions to Nadal, who sometimes feels rushed trying to unleash his sweeping backswings on the faster indoor track.


Varying his serving location and applying his net game helped Nadal snap a three-year hard-court title drought winning his third US Open title. Riding a 15-match winning streak into the Shanghai semifinals, Nadal explains his hard-court success this season simply: consistency.


“When you are playing well, everybody talks about improvements or things that you are doing different,” Nadal said. “At the end of the day of course I try to improve my game. But the sport is not that difficult: If you are playing well, then you have more chances to win a lot of matches. If you are playing worst, the chances are much less. This year I have been playing well almost every week. That’s why I have been having lot of success.”


Editors Note: Roy at Nike has had a great year! His players won Slams. The clothes have been fabulous and get RAVE reviews. And his top male players one will finish the year wearing the Swoosh as Number One.

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