Tennis: Rafael Nadal says London finals dream never died
AFP , Tuesday 3 Nov 2015

Rafael Nadal confirmed on Tuesday that he has erased all personal doubts concerning his form and never once considered missing the forthcoming World Tour Finals in London.

Nadal cleared the air at the Paris Masters two days after playing the Basel final against Roger Federer, the second final in three events for the Spaniard who has driven his ranking back up to sixth through sheer hard work and determination..

"I always believed that I was going to be in the top eight at the end of the season," said the seventh seed. "I'm humble enough to say, 'If I keep playing bad, it's probably going to be trouble,' but I had the feeling in some moments that I was going to play better.

"I always thought that I was going to qualify, but a few months ago I was not enjoying (my tennis)."

The hard-working 14-time Grand Slam winner added: "I believe my level is to be there in the top eight, So even if I had the tough moments this year, the year is long, and the normal thing is you have some good weeks to qualify for it (London)."

It was much the same story for Federer, who arrived in Paris in time for a practice session as he prepares to start against Andreas Seppi.

The Swiss third seed will need to make a quick adjustment from the court conditions of Basel to Bercy,

"This is an important tournament, it's always a tournament that I really enjoyed winning (in 2011). I've been 10 times in the final in Basel, so it always affects my preparation when I come into this tournament in Paris. So I do the best I can.

"Here the conditions are very different. It's slower, there is more bounce, more effect on the balls. So I have to adapt very quickly to these different conditions."

Nadal has fought his way out of a slump which lasted for well into the second half of the season, coming good with finals in Beijing and Basel and a semi-final in Shanghai over the past month.

But the return of the good times was not easy: "I was not enjoying (being) on court and not feeling myself competitive. The story now is different, I'm enjoying (being) on court," he explained.

"I don't have that nerves that I had during the season. Doesn't matter if I lose, I win, but I am enjoying (being) on court, I am enjoying (being) on (the) practise court, so I'm going to be there (in London).."

On court in the second round at the final event of the regular ATP season, Nadal's compatriot David Ferrer won his opening match over Alexandr Dolgopolov of the Ukraine 6-2, 6-2.

French Open champion Stan Wawrinka faced Bernard Tomic for the first time since 2011, with the Swiss`posting a 6-3, 7-6 (8/6) win.

Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin thrilled a small home crowd on a secondary court in the first round by beating service king Ivo Karlovic in a dramatic 4-6, 7-6 (7/1), 7-6 (7/5) finish.

Karlovic threw down 29 aces and 56 winners on his way to defeat in almost two-and-a quarter hours.

Top seed Novak Djokovic was later putting a 10-match tournament win streak on the line as he opened against Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci in the second round.

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