Bengaluru, November 14: Rafael Nadal's withdrawal from the ATP World Tour Finals in London after the defeat to David Goffin with a knee injury will surely raise a lot of eyebrows beyond the baseline.
The world No.1's decision to enter the year-end elite eight-man field was itself questionable considering the fact that he was not fully fit and had just pulled out midway through the recent Paris Masters where he ensured that his numero uno status will remain till the end of the year.
Nadal's aversion to the hard courts at London 02 Arena is well known and only recently he expressed his to play the year end tournament on a surface which suits his style.
"I believe that it isn't fair that a player like me really never played the year-end tournament on a surface that was a little bit more favorable. I always played on the worst surface possible for me," Nadal had told British media on his arrival in London.
London starting to be for Nadal what Paris is for Federer, no longer a place where you're likely to see him at his best, or see him at all.— Mike Dickson (@Mike_Dickson_DM) November 13, 2017
Critics point to the fact that the Spaniard had already played too much this year in order to regain the No.1 spot. It is worth mentioning that the Mallorcan has had an injury-plagued career which has earned him 16 Grand Slam titles.
Nadal's participation in Paris itself drew flak. While his nemesis Roger Federer pulled out before the start of the tournament, Nadal took a big gamble and entered the fray though he was not sure of his fitness and ultimately paid the price.
Federer's withdrawal meant Nadal had to win just his first-round match to ensure that he stayed as No.1 till the year ended. He did that, but his joy was short-lived as he withdrew before the start of the third-round tie.
The plot was similar in London as there was no respite for Nadal from his troubled knee.
Nadal in press and saying he is done for the year. I guess that means he's eligible for comeback Player of the Year again next year.— ton skeel (@naughtyT) November 13, 2017
The 31-year-old has promised to bounce back though.
"I know what I've to do. I know all the things that happened in the past when I had these things, and I know the treatment that I had to do," he said.
“I’m going to work hard... to keep being at the top and fighting for the most important things. Thank you and Merry Christmas, everyone.”— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) November 13, 2017
Nadal signs off his 2017 in press. See you next year, Rafa!https://t.co/VKxXkwwR45 pic.twitter.com/G2dcRvPl5M
"I know the periods of time that I need to work. Then if the treatment works or not, we'll see.
"The good thing is this is nothing new. Everybody in my team, we've the right experience to deal with this. We hope to manage it well, to have the right rest, the right work, and try to be ready for the beginning of the next season."