What Rafael Nadal injury means for year-end No 1 race with Novak Djokovic

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Rafael Nadal’s injury withdrawal from the Paris Masters has had a major impact on the battle to end the season as the year-end No 1.

When Novak Djokovic steps onto court this afternoon he will know he has a huge chance to boost his hopes of ending the 2019 season as No 1.

On Saturday, the ATP Race To London took a dramatic shift when Rafael Nadal withdrew from his Paris Masters semi-final with Denis Shapovalov with an abdominal injury.

“Everything was going the right way. Everything was going the right way, even the hand has been in better shape after coming here with some doubts,” he said.

“I’ve been practising well and in one of the last serves of the warm-up, I felt something in the abdominal. Immediately I came back to the doctor here to check with the doctor and he told me we need to wait a little bit more.

“I waited an hour and a half more to do a second test and we did, we saw something on the image, probably a small strain.

“Then I tried to come back on court to practice again and to see how the things are going with my serve but I was still feeling the pain there so playing is difficult today for different reasons.”

That meant Shapovalov moved through to the final, where he will face Djokovic for the title.

Nadal had held a 1,280-point lead over Djokovic but victory for the Wimbledon champion over Shapovalov today will see the gap close to just 640.

And that will take the battle to the season-ending ATP Finals at the O2 Arena in London.

If a player goes through the event undefeated, they will earn the maximum 1,500 points.

A round-robin win is 200 points, a semi-final victory is 400 and becoming champion delivers 500.

Djokovic is trying to join Pete Sampras in becoming year-end No 1 for a record-equalling sixth time while Nadal is aiming to tie with the Serbian, Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors on five.

For Nadal to have a chance at No 1 he now needs to compete at the ATP Finals and the 33-year-old says he will do whatever he can to be ready.

“I hope to be ready for London. That’s the biggest goal right now,” Nadal said.

“I will do all that I can do and all that’s mathematically possible to recover for it. But as you can expect today I can’t answer this question with the right position.

“Need to wait a period of time to have a clear idea about what is going on. I really hope it is nothing too big and the doctor believes it is nothing too big. But of course if it is big enough to not be 100 per cent recovered in one week, there is a chance hopefully.”

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