Sat, Nov 04, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Nadal withdraws from Paris Masters

AFP, PARIS

Spain’s Rafael Nadal returns to Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay in their Paris Masters singles match at the Bercy Arena in France on Thursday.

Photo: AP

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal yesterday pulled out of the Paris Masters before his quarter-final with a knee injury.

The Spaniard, who had his right knee strapped during his third-round win on Thursday, said he wanted to try and be ready to face Filip Krajinovic in the last eight, but that “it wasn’t possible to play.”

He did not say if he would be fit to play at the ATP World Tour Finals in London later this month.

“Yesterday [Thursday], the pain was very strong, but it was not the moment to stop,” Nadal told a news conference. “I had treatment last night to try and be able to play today... but unfortunately it was impossible for me to return to the court in the same condition as last night. It is a sad day for me.”

The 31-year-old became the oldest man to secure top spot in the end of season rankings when he beat Chung Hye-on in his opening match on Wednesday.

Nadal has fought back this year from a series of knee problems, winning the French Open and US Open titles, but he allayed fears this would lead to another lengthy spell on the sidelines, after injury-plagued campaigns saw him fail to reach a Grand Slam semi-final in 2015 and last year.

“I had a long year, a lot of matches. I pushed the body,” Nadal said. “We are at the end of the season. It’s normal that these kind of things happen. The knee is always, you know, bothering a little bit, but sometimes it’s worse and now is a little bit worse.”

He called the trainer to have his knee taped after the second set of his round-of-16 win over Pablo Cuevas, before insisting he would be fit to play at the season-ending event in London, but the 16-time Grand Slam champion then ended his bid for a first Paris Masters title, a serious blow for a tournament which is already missing the likes of Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka.

If Nadal pulls out of the ATP World Tour Finals it would leave Federer as the only member of the “Big Four” at the year-ending event.

“I’m going to do my treatment, do my best to be playing in London, but I cannot talk about that now because [it] is a day that is tough enough for me to pull out from here,” Nadal said.

“For me it’s not about London. For me, it’s about longer term, and longer term I’m going to do the treatment I believe that [is] going to be more safe and more important to keep playing tennis as long as possible,” he said.

World No. 77 Krajinovic, who had never been past the second round of a Masters tournament before, now progresses to his first semi-final of the season against either Juan Martin del Potro or John Isner today.

“I did not expect this at all, I was ready to play, but then I heard he had pulled out,” the Serb said. “I’m going to enjoy today and then see how it goes tomorrow [Saturday].”

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