London | Nadal withdraws on eve of O2 draw
The news that Rafa Nadal has pulled out of the season-ending Nitto ATP World Tour Finals at the O2, despite earlier assurances that he would from the organisers, means that Novak Djokovic will definitely end the year as the World No.1, replacing the Spaniard at the top.
Unfortunately I had the abdominal problem in Paris last week and I also have an issue in the ankle joint that has to be removed in the operating room today,This way I hope to be in full condition for next season Rafa Nadal
French Open champion Nadal announced that an abdominal muscle problem, which prevented him from playing in the Paris Masters last week, and ankle surgery at the weekend had forced him to pull out of the season-ending event.
“Unfortunately I had the abdominal problem in Paris last week and I also have an issue in the ankle joint that has to be removed in the operating room today,” the 17-time grand slam winner wrote on Twitter. “This way I hope to be in full condition for next season.”
John Isner will take the 32-year-old’s place in London when the finals get underway on Sunday and joins Kei Nishikori, who cae in at the end of last week in place of the injured Juan Martin del Potro, out with a knee cap injury.
“Reflecting on what I’ve been through in the last year, it’s quite a phenomenal achievement,” the Serbian, who was outside the top 20 at the start of the summer, admitted. “And, of course, I’m very, very happy and proud about it.
“Five months ago, if you told me that, I would be – I always believe in myself, but it was highly improbable at that time considering my ranking and the way I played and felt on the court.”
“What Novak has achieved this season has to go down as one of the great sporting comebacks. It’s been a phenomenal return to form that would have been hard to imagine just six months ago,” ATP executive chairman and president Chris Kermode said.
“He fully deserves his return to No.1 in the ATP rankings and should be incredibly proud of his exceptional season.”
The draw for next week was made during the One Show last night with Boris Becker lifting the named balls to confirm the Round Robin Groups as follows;
Group Guga Kuerten
 Novak Djokovic
 Alexander Zverev
 Marin Cilic
 John Isner
Group Lleyton Hewitt
 Roger Federer
 Kevin Anderson
 Dominic Thiem
 Kei Nishikori