ATP Finals: Rafael Nadal ruled out of London event

Annabel Croft I think Rafael Nadal will play the ATP Finals

Rafael Nadal has withdrawn his entry for the ATP Finals just hours before the draw having decided today that he is again not fit to play at the season-ending championships.

The 31-year-old, who was knocked off the No. 1 spot by Serbia's Novak Djokovic Monday, will be replaced by American John Isner at the November 11-18 event at London's O2 Arena.

"We had detected this a while ago and it has bothered me every now and then, but since the problem in the abdominal muscle will prevent me from playing in London we will make the most of this moment to intervene in the ankle and to avoid future problems".

This way I hope to be in top conditions for next season.

What Anderson can not ascribe to, however, is progressing further than fourth in the world, with the points tally of current number one Novak Djokovic, withdrawn, but still current number two Rafael Nadal and number three Roger Federer beyond the South African's reach - come what might.

Nadal published a statement on social media in which he said it had "been a hard year - very good on a tennis level when I have been able to play and, at the same time, very bad as far as injuries are concerned". Pete Sampras holds the record of six.

Nadal was spotted leaving hospital with his right ankle in a bandage following surgery on Monday.

Djokovic has gone 43-5 since, including Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.

The Spaniard lost his place as world number one last week when injury forced him to pull out of the Paris Masters, with Novak Djokovic moving to the top of the rankings.

The Serb returned to the number one spot for the first time since 2016 despite his loss in the Paris Masters final against Karan Khachanov.

He played his last match at the US Open in September, when he retired with a knee injury in the semifinal against Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro.

Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a forehand in his semi final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia during day 7 of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2018 tennis at Foro Italico on May 19, 2018 in Rome, Italy.