The Rafael Nadal forehand is undoubtedly one of the most feared shots in the history of men’s professional tennis.
The defeat ended Nadal’s hopes of reclaiming the number one ranking from Alcaraz this week. Before the Paris Masters, Nadal along with Carlos Alcaraz, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud, Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic already qualified for the eight-man tournament in Turin from Nov. 13-20.
Alcaraz, Tsitsipas, Alex de Minaur and Lorenzo Musetti also advanced to the third round in Paris, while Nadal’s 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-1 loss to Tommy Paul raised questions about his fitness in his first singles match since the U.S. Open.
The second-seeded Nadal made 19 unforced errors to 18 for Paul and dropped serve three times in the final set, almost looking resigned.
“At the end, I need days on the tour,” Nadal said. “It’s true that for the last five months I didn’t spend enough days on the tour. I don’t even say competing on a tennis court. I say on the tour. Practicing with the guys. That’s what I need.”