World No. 1 Rafael Nadal has been forced to withdraw from the ATP Finals due to a knee injury.
A stricken Nadal lost his opening match at the O2 Arena in London, the 16-time grand slam champion upstaged by David Goffin in three sets on Monday.
Nadal – who was already in doubt for the season-ending event after a knee injury meant he had to pull out of the Paris Masters – looked uncomfortable in the 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4 defeat in Group Pete Sampras.
“My season is finished,” said the Spaniard. “I had the commitment with the event, with the city, with myself. I tried hard. I did the thing that I had to do to try to be ready to play. But I am really not ready to play.
“I tried, but [it] seriously was a miracle to be very close in the score during the match.”
Fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta has replaced the 31-year-old reigning French and US Open champion as an alternate.
“I’m going to work hard… to keep being at the top and fighting for the most important things. Thank you and Merry Christmas, everyone.”
Nadal signs off his 2017 in press. See you next year, Rafa!https://t.co/VKxXkwwR45 pic.twitter.com/G2dcRvPl5M
— ATP World Tour (@ATPWorldTour) November 13, 2017
Nadal’s exit has opened the door for 19-time major winner Roger Federer to claim a record seventh ATP Finals crown.