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Rafael Nadal is first to qualify for the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals

Hannah Wilks in ATP Tour 11 Aug 2018
  • Rafael Nadal has become the first player to qualify for the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals
  • Nadal's run to the semifinals at the Rogers Cup in Toronto sees him qualify for the season-ending championships for the fourteenth time
Rafael Nadal celebrates beating Marin Cilic in the quarterfinals of the Rogers Cup (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal has become the first player to qualify for the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals.



After reaching the semifinals of the Canada Masters, world no. 1 Rafael Nadal officially became the first player to qualify for the ATP World Tour's season-ending championships in 2018.

The eight-man field at the Nitto ATP Finals are selected on the basis of points accumulated throughout the calendar year, with the standings tracked by the 'Race to London', ensuring that only the most in-form players of the season are among the elite field at the season-ending championships when they are played at London's O2 Arena in November. The 2018 edition takes place from 11-18 November and is the last official ATP World Tour event of the season before the tour reconvenes for a new year in January.

This is the fourteenth consecutive year that Nadal has qualified for the ATP Finals since making his initial appearance at what was then called the Tennis Masters Cup in 2006.

Nadal's 6,130 points (at the time of writing) put him ahead of Alexander Zverev in second place with 4,275 points. The current qualification cut is at 5,875 points.

It's a fitting development in what has been another brilliant season for Nadal. It did not start well, with the Spaniard forced to retire in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open against Marin Cilic due to an adductor injury which saw him miss the Indian Wells and Miami Masters - making the fact that he has already qualified for the ATP Finals even more impressive. But another superb clay-court season for Nadal saw him win Masters 1000 Series titles at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and Rome Masters, as well as a 500 title in Barcelona and, of course, an eleventh French Open title at Roland Garros, which netted Nadal 2,000 points. 

Nadal went on to have his best Wimbledon result for some years when he made the semifinals before narrowly losing to Novak Djokovic in five sets, and the 17-time Grand Slam champion has been impressive in Toronto, where he is playing for the first time in eight years, beating Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic to make the semifinals where he is due to face Karen Khachanov.


It's an open question whether Nadal will actually play at the Nitto ATP Finals, however. On six of the 14 occasions on which Nadal has qualified for the season-ending championships, the Spaniard has not actually played a match, shutting down his season early due to injury concerns. In recent years, Nadal's participation has settled into a year-on, year-off pattern, with the Spaniard absent in 2012, 2014 and 2016 - which doesn't bode well for 2018. At least in 2017 Nadal did take to the courts, although he withdrew from the tournament after losing his first round-robin match to David Goffin - Goffin would go on to reach the final, finishing runner-up to Grigor Dimitrov.

Nadal has never won the Nitto ATP Finals in eight attempts, although he made the final in 2010 and 2013, losing to Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic respectively.

Among the other players currently in position to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals are Alexander Zverev, champion at the Madrid Masters, Washington and Munich; Australian Open, Rotterdam and Stuttgart champion Federer; Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic; French Open finalist Dominic Thiem; Wimbledon runner-up Kevin Anderson and Indian Wells Masters champion Juan Martin del Potro.


But the ability to sustain a high level of performance throughout the season is crucial for players hoping to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals, with Andy Murray and Jack Sock among players who have made memorable late-season surges to secure qualification.

ATP Race to London: Latest standings

StandingPlayerPointsTitlesNext match
1 - QUALIFIEDRafael Nadal6,130Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome, French OpenRogers Cup SF
2Alexander Zverev4,275Munich, Madrid, WashingtonCincinnati Masters R32
3Roger Federer4,030Australian Open, Rotterdam, StuttgartCincinnati Masters R32
4Juan Martin del Potro3,540Acapulco, Indian WellsCincinnati Masters R32
5Novak Djokovic3,455WimbledonCincinnati Masters R32
6Kevin Anderson3,190New YorkRogers Cup SF
7Marin Cilic3,105Queen'sCincinnati Masters R32
8Dominic Thiem3,015Buenos Aires, LyonCincinnati Masters R32


*Geo-restrictions apply; funded account required or to have placed a bet in the last 24 hours to qualify

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Rafael Nadal is first to qualify for the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals

After reaching the semifinals of the Canada Masters, world no. 1 Rafael Nadal becomes the first player to qualify for the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals. Nadal will be seeking his very first title at the season-ending championships, live from London from 11-18 November 2018.

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