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Rafael Nadal Withdraws From London ATP Tennis • John Isner Slips In, Round-Robin Groups Revealed

Rafael Nadal of Spain holds a press conference to announce his withdrawal from the tournament at the Rolex Paris Masters tennis tournament in Paris, France, 31 0ctober 2018. EPA-EFE/IAN LANGSDON



By Ricky Dimon


As most people expected, Rafael Nadal withdrew from the Nitto ATP Finals on Monday, citing multiple injuries. The world No. 2 has not played since retiring from his U.S. Open semifinal showdown against Juan Martin Del Potro because of a knee issue. He was briefly in last week’s Paris Masters draw before pulling out due to an abdominal problem.


Nadal also announced that he is undergoing a minor ankle procedure, although he made sure to point out that it would not have prevented him from playing at the O2 Arena and is doing it now only because he has time off as a result of the other injuries.


The Spaniard’s exit means John Isner will make his London debut. Isner finished the regular season as the second alternate; first alternate Kei Nishikori got into the elite eight-man field when Del Potro withdrew last week due to knee issues of his own.


“It’s a pretty nice accomplishment for me, no doubt,” Isner said in an interview with the local newspaper from his hometown in Greensboro, N.C. “It’s a tournament I’ve always wanted to compete in, and this year I have that chance. I’ve been very close to making it for a number of years, but it just hasn’t quite happened. But I also do realize I’m pretty fortunate this year in getting in. I did have a good year, and I put myself in position, and things have just worked out.


“Right now I’m not nervous at al. I’ve got to take the mentality of going out there and being loose…. I could very well be the underdog in every single match I play; that could be a good thing for me. All players like that role…. I have nothing to lose. If I do the right things, I can certainly do some damage.”


By virtue of Nadal’s withdrawal, Novak Djokovic has mathematically clinched the year-end No. 1 ranking.


The finalized lineup consists of Djokovic, Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev, Kevin Anderson, Marin Cilic, Dominic Thiem, Nishikori, and Isner. Following Monday’s draw ceremony, Group A is home to Djokovic, Zverev, Cilic, and Isner. Group B includes Federer, Anderson, Thiem, and Nishikori.


Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @TennGrand.

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