Tommy Paul stunned Rafael Nadal in Wednesday’s second-round fixture at the 2022 Paris Masters, handing the Spaniard a loss in his first singles tournament since the US Open and his first match as a father.
The Mallorcan had moments of greatness, but could not maintain top form, losing 6-3, 6(4)-7, 1-6 in three sets. The defeat dealt a severe setback to Nadal’s aspirations of finishing the year as the World No. 1. With his victory, Paul has leveled up his head-to-head record with the 22-time Grand Slam champion, which currently stands at 1-1.
Nadal fans quickly noticed an odd pattern after the match, figuring out that the Spaniard has now lost to American tennis players three times in a single season for the first time in his career.
The World No. 2 lost to Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells final in March after beginning the year with 21 straight victories. After that, he lost to Frances Tiafoe in the US Open five months later, going out in the fourth round.
With last night’s match result to add to that, the 36-year-old has suffered six losses in 2022, with the Americans taking the brunt of those losses. Before the loss to Fritz in Indian Wells, the last time Nadal lost against an American was all the way back in 2017, when Sam Querrey defeated him at the Mexico Open in Acapulco.
“If nothing happens, I hope to be there” – Rafael Nadal on playing in the 2022 ATP Tour Finals
Since losing in the fourth round of the US Open at the beginning of September, Nadal, 36, has only participated in one event: a doubles match at the Laver Cup with Roger Federer.
Against 25-year-old Paul, who earned one of his career victories, the southpaw began to tire after the second set, worrying fans about his participation in the upcoming ATP Tour Finals.
Thankfully, the 36-year-old gave the thumbs up when asked if he would participate in the tournament at the press conference following the match, promising to make an effort to get to Turin early so he could get good practice.
“Yes, I hope, if nothing happens, I hope to be there. I’m excited about playing, even if it hasn’t been a perfect couple of months for me. But, yeah, there’s nothing to lose. After a good year, going there, I’m just trying my best. In the end, I need days on the tour,” he said.
“It’s true that in 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. I’m going to try. If I feel okay, I’ll be there earlier than usual and have some practice,” he added.