Nadal pulls out of ATP World Tour Finals

The spirit was as strong as ever but Rafael Nadal’s troublesome knee failed him in the end as the Spaniard quit the ATP World Tour Finals after a painful defeat by Belgium’s David Goffin.

Nadal, at 31 the oldest player to finish a year ranked number one, fought until the last point at London’s O2 Arena, saving four match points in a compelling clash before losing 7-6(7-5), 6-7 (4-7), 6-4 in two hours and 37 minutes.

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“My season is finished,” the Spaniard told reporters after the match. “My commitment was to try. I’ve missed this event too many times in my career.”

The injury had already forced Nadal, 31, to pull out from the Paris Masters earlier this month. The season-ending tournament, which consists of the top eight players from the tennis season, is the only major event Nadal has never won despite qualifying for it 13 consecutive times.

With Nadal dropping out, Roger Federer, ranked second in the world and the winner of this year’sAustralian Open and Wimbledon, is the presumed favorite in the ATP Finals. The Swiss tennis star faces Germany’s Alexander Zverev in the second round of group play on Tuesday.

Pablo Carreno Busta, one of the two alternates for the tournament, will replace his compatriot Nadal in the tournament. Busta must defeat Grigor Dimitrov of Hungary and Dominic Thiem of Austria in order to qualify for the semifinals. Dimitrov defeated Thiem 6-3, 5-7, 7-5 on Tuesday as the first round of group play came to a close.

Nadal, like another Big Four member, Andy Murray, now has to work hard but carefully on his rehabilitation if he is going to be fully fit in time for the first major of 2018, the Australian Open in January.

 

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