(Reuters) – Top seed Rafael Nadal withdrew from the Paris Masters shortly before his opening match against fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday, and as a result will lose the ATP No. 1 ranking to Novak Djokovic.
Rafa, who has not played since retiring injured in the US Open semifinals in September, cited an abdominal injury.
He said that he still feels fit to play, but doctors were concerned enough about the abdomen problem could become progressively worse if he was to play in Paris this week.
I decided I’m happy to be here and it has been a positive few days for my mental part too to be here again practicing with the guys. I enjoy that and I feel myself competitive but… I just can follow the recommendations of the doctor. I can’t go against that, in my opinion today especially before the tournament has started.
I don’t know if we can talk about a real injury. I can talk about a pain that bothers me overtime that I serve. It will not be fair to say it’s a real injury today but what is sure that if I continue then it will be a real injury.
Our champ needed to beat Verdasco to hold Djokovic at bay, but the Serb will now return to the No. 1 spot regardless of how far he goes in Paris.