After Paris withdrawal, Nadal's top goal is "to be ready for London"

After Paris withdrawal, Nadal's top goal is "to be ready for London"

The 33-year-old, set to return to No. 1 next week, was forced to pull out from Saturday's semifinal with Denis Shapovalov due to an abdominal injury, incurred during his warm up.

Rafael Nadal, having withdrawn from the Rolex Paris Masters semifinals with an abdominal injury, will spend the next week attempting to recover for the Nitto ATP Finals in London.

Nadal experienced the injury while warming up for his match Saturday against Denis Shapovalov, saying scans were showing a "small strain" had occurred. 

"I hope to be ready for London. That's the biggest goal now. But as I say before, I can't guarantee anything because [it] just happened today," he told press in Paris following his withdrawal. 

The No. 2 had two scans before withdrawing on the doctor's recommendation, saying the problem was likely to be aggravated further by playing. He also explained that more testing would be required to know the exact extent of the injury.

"Today I can't answer this question with the right precision," he said. "Now we can't see exactly in the image yet. Needs couple of hours to be sure. 

"In a muscle injury, the first few hours is so difficult to see because there is so much liquid. I really hope it is nothing big, the doctors believe it is nothing too big. [But] if [it] is big enough not to be recovered in one week, [that] is a chance."

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Nadal experienced a similar injury before the event in 2018 when he had just changed his serving motion, but confirmed that there had been no such changes this time around. The 33-year-old has been frequently injured during the indoor season in his career, and has also experienced repeated physical problems while competing on hard courts in recent years.

But he added that he had been happy with his level of play before the injury, having not competed since the Laver Cup and playing his first ATP event since his wedding two weeks ago. The Spaniard will now return home and consult with doctors there.

"The rest of the things of the week have been very positive," said Nadal. "I enjoyed playing good tennis. I played three good matches."

Nadal will still return to No. 1 next week, but Novak Djokovic will have a shot to reclaim the top spot at the ATP Finals, especially if Nadal does not play the event.

Djokovic and Shapovalov will face off in Sunday's final, with the Serbian holding a 3-0 advantage in their prior meetings. All have taken place in 2019.