TODAY |

'Is that a serious question?' Rafa Nadal stunned by reporter's bizarre questions about marriage


After being thoroughly outplayed by defending champion Alexander Zverev at the ATP Finals, Rafael Nadal refused to make any excuses.

The top-ranked Spaniard wouldn't blame the abdominal problem that forced him to pull out of the Paris Masters semifinals just nine days earlier, or a hand injury that kept him sidelined before that.

And he bristled at the notion that his recent marriage could be a factor in a sub-par performance.

Something was clearly off for Nadal, though, who lost 6-2, 6-4 to a player he had a perfect 5-0 record against before yesterday's match at the O2 Arena.

Nadal dropped his serve three straight times, didn't force a single break point, and his normally powerful forehand was responsible for more than four times as many unforced errors (13) as winners (3).

Still, Nadal insisted there was nothing wrong with him physically.

"I did not feel pain in the abdominal at all," he said. "So the physical issue was not an excuse at all. The only excuse is I was not good enough tonight."

Nadal hasn't finished a tournament since winning the US Open in August, also pulling out of Shanghai because of a hand injury.

That lack of playing time certainly isn't helpful coming into an event featuring only the top eight players in the world, rather than lower-ranked early opponents.

He still has to face Stefanos Tsitsipas and Daniil Medvedev in round-robin play, and probably has to beat both in order to reach the semifinals.

"Knowing that I would not be at my 100% in terms of feelings, in terms of movement, in terms of confidence or hitting the ball, I needed my best competitive spirit this afternoon, and I was not there in that way," Nadal said. "I need to play much better in two days."

The Spaniard then got a bit testy when a journalist asked whether his October marriage to longtime girlfriend Maria Francisca Perello has changed his outlook on the game at all.

"Honestly, are you asking me this? Is that a serious question or a joke?" Nadal bristled.

"It is a big surprise for me (that) you ask me this after I have been with the same girl for 15 years and having a very stable and normal life. Doesn't matter if you put a ring on your finger or not."