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Nadal facing 'most difficult' event of the year

World number one Rafael Nadal, who has won three successive Grand Slam titles this year, believes the ATP World Tour Finals in London is a much tougher challenge for him.

sports Updated: Nov 20, 2010 18:50 IST

World number one Rafael Nadal, who has won three successive Grand Slam titles this year, believes the ATP World Tour Finals in London is a much tougher challenge for him.

"To me this is the most difficult tournament of the year. The surface does not help me at all to play at my best, nor my rivals of course," he told the Spanish newspaper ABC in an interview published Saturday.

"I don't understand why the (event) has to be indoors when you qualify on an outdoor surface."

The world's top eight players will compete in the round-robin end-of-season ATP World Tour Finals in London from Sunday.

Nadal crashed out of the prestigious event last year in the group stage after losing all three of his matches.

But since then his career has seen a dramatic about-turn. The 24-year-old Spaniard regained the world number one spot from Roger Federer after winning three successive Grand Slam titles.

He told ABC the turning point for him this year was winning the Monte Carlo Masters in April, when he thrashed compatriot Fernando Verdasco 6-0, 6-1 in the final.

"I think winning in Monte Carlo was decisive. I had gone a long time without winning, many months without taking a title, and it was very important to me. It gave me the reassurance I needed."

Winning the French Open on his favourite clay court surface was also "vital because I had had knee problems, and was generally having a hard time."

But he didn't think his game had changed dramatically.

"It's just that I've been very good physically and mentally, so automatically my tennis has improved," he said.

"The truth is that it has been an unforgettable year and I'm very, very happy for everything that has happened. I am excited at times and now I want to finish as best as possible."