World No. 1 Rafael Nadal will forgo the season-ending Shanghai Tennis Masters Cup to recuperate from a right knee injury. Nadal, who is assured of finishing 2008 as the No. 1 ranked player for a first time in his career, hurt his knee during his match against Nikolay Davydenko in the quarterfinals at Paris last Friday.
“I have decided not to compete on the Masters Cup in Shanghai,” Nadal said in a statement on his website. “As I say this is one of the most difficult decisions in my career due to the importance of the event and above all, due to the fact of not making possible my will to be with the fans in China and the tournament organizers that always treated me in such special way.”
Nadal also stressed the importance of the looming Davis Cup final which takes places the weekend of November 21.
“I want to recover and be ready for the important Davis Cup final with my country that will be played in Mar del Plata, Argentina,” added Nadal, a winner of eight titles in 2008 including the French Open and Wimbledon. “That is also another reason for not coming to Shanghai.”
Nadal has been plagued by knee issues since storming onto the tennis scene in 2001. The 22-year-old Spaniard will be replaced in the eight-man field by Frenchman Gilles Simon who will make his first Tennis Masters Cup appearance.
According to the ATP rule 3.01.C.2, Nadal will be fined 5% of his 2008 prize money ($6.77M) if he does not appear in Shanghai for media obligations. Nadal reportedly collected on a $1.5 million dollar bonus for playing in Paris.
The year-ending Tennis Masters Cup begins on Sunday. With Nadal withdrawn, the top seed will now be defending champion Roger Federer. The remainder of the field includes Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Nikolay Davydenko, Andy Roddick, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Simon. James Blake is currently the alternate.
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