Ten-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal has pulled out of next week’s Paris Masters tournament because he needs more time to prepare for the year-end ATP World Tour Finals in London at the end of the month.
“It’s been a difficult decision to take but I understand that it is what I need to do right now to prepare well for the end of this season and also for 2012,” the 25-year-old Spaniard said on his Facebook page.
Nadal, who lost his No. 1 tennis ranking to Novak Djokovic after the Serb beat him in the Wimbledon final in July, also pulled out of the Paris Masters last year.
The event, which starts Nov. 7 at the Palais Omnisports in Bercy, is one of nine mandatory tournaments on the men’s tennis tour. Nadal is allowed to miss one Masters tournament per season because he’s played more than 600 Tour matches in his career.
As the 11-month long tennis season draws to a close with the ATP World Tour Finals, players have increasingly been struck down by ailments.
Djokovic, who has won three major singles titles this season, and 16-time Grand Slam champion and world No. 4 Roger Federer both pulled out of the Shanghai Masters and the China Open in Beijing last month, citing injuries.
This week, third-ranked Andy Murray of Britain withdrew from a tournament in Basel, Switzerland with a gluteal muscle strain. Mardy Fish, the highest-ranked American at No. 8 who is still in contention for a spot at the Tour finals, had to retire in the first round in Basel with a hamstring injury.
To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Rossingh in London at firstname.lastname@example.org.