Rafa Withdraws From Paris; Novak Set To Return To No. 1
Abdominal concerns sideline Spaniard
World No. 1 Rafael Nadal withdrew with an abdominal injury ahead of his first match at the Rolex Paris Masters on Wednesday meaning that Novak Djokovic will return to the top of the ATP Rankings on 5 November.
“It was great to be here in Paris for a couple of days and practise with the guys,” said Nadal, during a press conference on Wednesday. “I enjoyed it [and] I felt in terms of tennis better than one week ago. But in the past few days, I started to feel a little bit [of an] abdominal [injury], especially when I was serving. I checked with the doctor and he said that he recommended to not play, because if I continued the abdominal may break and could become a major thing. And I really don't want that."
Nadal, who has not competed since retiring with a knee injury against Juan Martin del Potro in the US Open semi-finals on 7 September, had been due to play his Spanish compatriot Fernando Verdasco in the Paris second round.
Djokovic, who is looking to win his 33rd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown this week in the French capital, will return to the summit of men’s professional tennis on Monday almost two years to the day since he completed his 223rd and most recent week in top spot.
The 31-year-old Djokovic will become the first player to be ranked outside the Top 20 then climb to No. 1 in the same season since Marat Safin in 2000. Safin was as low at No. 38 on 28 February 2000 before becoming No. 1 on 20 November that year.
Nadal, who had been No. 1 since 25 June after several lead changes with Roger Federer earlier in the year, had led Djokovic by just 35 points in the ATP Race To London ahead of the final week of the regular ATP World Tour season in Paris.
Djokovic and Nadal will both attempt to become five-time year-end World No. 1s at the Nitto ATP Finals, to be held at The O2 in London from 11-18 November.
“I would love to be in London, of course,” said Nadal, who will wait on making a decision on his participation at the season finale. “But the most important thing for me is to be healthy and have the chance to compete weeks in a row.”