Rafa Nadal withdraws from ATP World Tour finals at the O2 after having ankle operation

RAFA NADAL has withdrawn from tennis’ season-ending tournament after undergoing career-saving ankle surgery.

The Spaniard, recently replaced by Novak Djokovic as the world No.1, has pulled out of next week’s ATP World Tour finals at the O2 Arena.

 Rafa Nadal will play no part in the ATP World Tour finals

AFP or licensors
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Rafa Nadal will play no part in the ATP World Tour finals

The 17-major winner has not played since the US Open semi-finals with an abdominal muscle injury, having aborted his comeback appearance at last week’s Paris Masters.

And he has decided to end his 2018 campaign now, going under the knife to rectify a long-standing ankle injury.

He will be replaced in the tournament by world No 10 John Isner.

It also means Djokovic is almost certain to finish reclaim his position as world No.1.

 Novak Djokovic is now guaranteed to finish the year as World No 1

AP:Associated Press
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Novak Djokovic is now guaranteed to finish the year as World No 1

In a Twitter statement to his 15.6m followers, Nadal, 32, said: “I write these words at the end of the season.

“It has been a complicated year: very good at the tennis level when I have been able to play but at the same time very bad as far as injuries are concerned.

Rafael Nadal retires after two sets in the semi-final against Juan Martin Del Potro

“I have done everything possible to get to end of season in good condition, both to Paris and to London, doing things well and I really wanted to play.

“Unfortunately I had the abdominal problem in Paris last week. And I have a [problem] with my right ankle joint that [required] an operation [today]

“It is true that we had detected it for some time and it occasionally bothered me.

“However, since the problem in the abdominal muscle also prevents me from playing in London, we have taken the time to remove the free body and avoid future problems.

“This way I hope to be in full condition for next season.”

RAFA NADAL has withdrawn from tennis’ season-ending tournament after undergoing career-saving ankle surgery.