Rafael Nadal targets his maiden Rolex Paris Masters title this week

Rafael Nadal is ready to pursue a record-equalling 36th ATP Masters 1000 title and his very first Rolex Paris Masters title this week.

The world No 2 has never won the title at Paris-Bercy, but he has made at least the quarter-finals in all seven of his appearances.

The 34-year-old admitted that he is often tired at the end of the season, which reflects his results at the Paris Masters and the ATP Finals, which he qualified for in a record 16 consecutive seasons but never managed to win.

“In some places you have more success, in another a little bit less. It is true that, of course, at the end of the year in the past I arrived sometimes very tired physically and sometimes mentally too,” Nadal said. “And sometimes, in the indoor court I need to be fresh, I need to be fully fit. It’s the surface on which I probably need to play better to try to have success.

“It is true that here in Bercy I had issues a lot of times. I had to retire from the tournament a couple of times. In the World Tour Finals, I have been there quite a lot of times, in the semi-finals, finals quite a lot of times. But I didn’t win.

“It is a tough tournament to play against the best players in the world under difficult circumstances. I don’t know. I will keep trying my best, as I did all my tennis career. I hope to give myself the chances.”

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this is only Nadal’s third tournament since February, but the Spaniard says lockdown has helped him prepare for tournaments better.

He said: “I like to play tennis, so I’d like to play more often than two tournaments every six, seven months. This year worked well, but it was not an ideal situation.

“Normally, I like to play a little bit more before the important tournaments. But not because of the important tournament. It is because I like to play tennis, I like the competition. That’s what I do. It is nothing new that I played well after a while without playing tennis. I did it in the past. So that is giving me confidence that I can do it.

“I hope next year we will have a more usual calendar and I can play some more tennis.”

The race to claim the final spot at the Nitto ATP Finals in London is likely to come to a head this week in Paris.

Russian Andrey Rublev qualified for the tournament at the O2 Arena for the first time by winning his fifth title of the season in Vienna on Sunday to join Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Daniil Medvedev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev in the field.

Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman is currently in the final qualifying spot and is a heavy favourite to complete the line-up.

With 200 points still to drop off his tally from last year’s event, Italian Matteo Berrettini needs to reach the final in Paris to stay in contention while only winning the title would be enough for all the other hopefuls.

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British duo Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski boosted their chances of qualifying for the doubles tournament by reaching the final in Vienna but still have work to do in Paris with four spots yet to be claimed.

Murray and Skupski currently sit in seventh but are only 130 points ahead of Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin in ninth.

The ATP Finals begins on November 15.

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