Rafael Nadal, who was set to make his return from injury at the Paris Masters, has pulled out of the Masters 1000 event due to abdominal concerns.
Nadal’s withdrawal means Novak Djokovic will return to the top of the ATP rankings on 5 November, for the first time since 2016.
Speaking during a press conference on Wednesday, Nadal said, “It was great to be here in Paris for a couple of days and practise with the guys.
“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 from his US Open semifinal match against Juan Martin del Potro, was scheduled to play this countryman, Fernando Verdasco in the second round, but Malek Jaziri was drafted in in his stead. And the Tunisian rose to the occasion, beating Verdasco 7-6, 1-6, 6-3 to reach the third round.
Four-time Paris Masters champion, Djokovic will become the first player to be ranked outside the Top 20 and then go top 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.