Rafael Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas will face off at the ATP Finals on Thursday night with the winner booking their spot in the semi-finals and Andy Murray is backing his great rival Nadal to get the job done.
Nadal, 34, leads their head-to-head 5-1 and will need to add a sixth win over the Greek if he is to advance to the final four.
Both players lost to Dominic Thiem and defeated Andrey Rublev, setting up what is essentially a quarter-final in the final round robin match of Group London 2020.
Tsitsipas, the defending champion, was forced to save a match point in a dramatic three-set win over Rublev on Tuesday night and Murray thinks he will have to raise his game if he’s to have a chance of taking out Nadal.
While Tsitsipas won the event last year, his only defeat during the tournament came against the world No. 2 from Spain and Murray is backing Nadal to bring an end to his title defence.
‘I mean, he [Tsitsipas] definitely has the potential to win the match,’ Murray said during a Twitch stream with Gael Monfils.
‘After the match finished, he was very emotional in his interview. He still seemed like very nervous when he finished.
‘Obviously he was relieved to get through the match and that’s something, you know, that against Rafa he’ll need to control that side of things better if he wants to win.
‘Rafa is playing well and probably playing the better tennis. If I had to pick that match right now I would take Rafa. In these sort of situations he has a lot of experience.
‘I saw a couple of videos of him on the practice court and he looked in good spirits, seemed happy.
Sometimes the day after your losses, I know at a normal tournament the day after I lose you’re pretty down and upset, thinking about the previous match. He looked as if he was pretty happy out there, which I think is a good sign.
‘He spoke and felt like he played well against Thiem, too, and it was a tight one so I think Rafa is feeling pretty good and Stefanos will have to play better if he wants to win that.’
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