RAFAEL Nadal was happy to make up for lost time as he began his Barclays ATP World Tour Finals campaign with a thumping victory over Spanish compatriot David Ferrer.
The world number one was not able to play at London’s O2 Arena last year because of knee problems but since returning in February his form has been sensational.
Nadal has won 10 tournaments, including two grand slam titles, and he is chasing the one major trophy missing from his CV to complete a dream season.
Ferrer provided little opposition, the third seed failing to find the form that helped him beat Nadal in the semi-finals of the Paris Masters on Saturday as he went down 6-3 6-2 in just an hour and 14 minutes.
Nadal said: “It is a fantastic stadium. It’s a stadium that I really love. It’s one of the best stadiums that I ever played in.
“I enjoy it every time. First of all, what it means to be playing here, because it shows you had a great season, and at the same time the atmosphere, the lights.
“Even if I was not able to play my best a lot of times here, I really have great feelings every time I play here. Last year was a big miss for me.”
Nadal made the final in 2010, losing to Roger Federer, but he has also failed to reach the semi-finals twice at the O2.
A straight-sets victory over Stanislas Wawrinka on Wednesday would book his place in the last four and also secure the year-end number one ranking ahead of Novak Djokovic.
Nadal said: “I’ve always come here with motivation to play well.
“For some reason you have places that the conditions are a little bit worse for you. But that doesn’t mean that one year you have special motivation. Every time I am able to play in the World Tour Finals it has been a special feeling for me.
“Sometimes I didn’t play my best. Other times, I played well. I had a few chances without a positive end. But I going to try to play a good match tomorrow and create another chance to be in the semi-finals again.”
On Tuesday night at 10pm (Cyprus time), defending champion Djokovic, who still has a slim chance of overtaking Nadal at the top of the rankings, begins his Group B campaign with a repeat of last year’s final against six-time winner Roger Federer.