London - Rafael Nadal said on Friday he "hopes" to be ready for his opening
match at the ATP Finals but admitted he has not been training at 100 per
cent after an injury scare.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion
pulled out of the Paris Masters last week with a knee problem, sparking
fears that he would miss the season-ending finale in London.
asked whether his knee would be ready for his first match against
Belgium's David Goffin on Monday, the Spaniard told a pre-tournament
press conference "I'll try my best," but admitted he had been wary
during practice in recent days.
"I hope. And if I didn't believe I
can be ready, for me, I wouldn't be here," said the world No 1.
"I'm working every day, practising well and just trying to be ready for
He said it was impossible to predict whether his
knee would be close to its best by the time of next week's final, adding
that he was taking things day by day.
"You cannot predict what's
going to happen," he said. "You work every day without thinking too much
about what's going to happen."
Nadal insisted he had made no schedule demands on the organisers to gain additional time to recuperate from his injury.
the Spaniard pulls out of the event it would be a huge blow to
organisers, with the likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray already
missing from this year's event, giving the eight-man field a lopsided
Nadal, 31, has had a season to
remember after an injury-ravaged 2016, winning the French Open and US
Open and climbing back to the top of the world rankings.
rival Roger Federer, who scooped up the other two Grand Slams this year
- the Australian Open and Wimbledon - said Nadal's absence would be a
"He's the number one player in the world, he's had the
best season of us all and he's a superstar of our game so naturally it
would be a big blow," said the Swiss.
"If he's here, to me that means it's already a very good sign," Federer, 36, added. "We hope he plays and hope he plays well,"
who has never won the ATP Finals, said it was satisfying to be back in
London for the year-end event after he missed out last year, admitting
the absence of the trophy in his career played on his mind.
Spaniard faces Goffin on Monday evening in the last of the first batch
of matches. Two groups of four players play in a round-robin format
before semi-finals and a final.
The other players in Nadal's group
are Dominic Thiem and Grigor Dimitrov, while Federer competes against
Jack Sock, Marin Cilic and Alexander Zverev, who has climbed to number
three in the world in a breakthrough year.
Nadal is guaranteed to
end the year as world No 1, irrespective of his performance at the
finals, which begin on Sunday and end on November 19.
permitting, all eyes are on a potential final between Nadal and Federer,
with the Spaniard keen to atone for four defeats out four to his Swiss
rival this year.
"It would be great to finish the year playing against him again," said Nadal.