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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Rafael Nadal 'not going to cry' over injury and will focus on getting ready for 2018 season

Spaniard withdrew from ATP Finals in London on Monday due to a knee problem but is preferring to focus on a 'great season'.

Rafael Nadal announces his withdrawal from the ATP Finals following his defeat to David Goffin. Tony O'Brien / Reuters
Rafael Nadal announces his withdrawal from the ATP Finals following his defeat to David Goffin. Tony O'Brien / Reuters

Rafael Nadal refused to be downbeat at the injury-enforced end to his season, instead choosing to focus on being ready for the start of 2018.

Nadal, 31, pulled out of the ATP Finals in London on Monday following a 7-6, 6-7, 6-4 defeat to Belgian David Goffin in his first match of the season-ending tournament.

There were concerns ahead of the event that Nadal was still struggling with the knee injury that led to his withdrawal during the Paris Masters, and despite a typically battling performance against Goffin, the Spaniard was clearly hindered by the problem.

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"My season is finished," Nadal said following the loss to Goffin. "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.

"It’s about the pain. I cannot hold with enough power to keep playing. I tried, but seriously it was a miracle to be very close in the score during the match. It really doesn't make sense."

Given Nadal’s unfortunate record with knee injuries throughout his career, he will hope the latest setback will not prove to be a long-term issue.

Despite the frustrating end to his year, Nadal has defied most expectations, including his own, with the level of success he has achieved in 2017.

Six titles have been won, including his 10th French Open and third US Open, taking his total grand slam titles to 16. Nadal also lifted trophies in Beijing, Madrid, Barcelona, and Monte Carlo.

"I am, of course, disappointed," Nadal said. "But I am not going to cry. I had a great season. I really appreciate all the things that happened to me during the whole season.

"I am going to work hard to try to give me more chances the next season to keep being at the top and fighting for the most important things."

Part of Nadal’s preparations for next season will include a trip to Abu Dhabi for the Mubadala World Tennis Championships (MWTC) where he is the defending champion.

The six-player tournament will also feature former world No 1 Novak Djokovic, three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka, former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic, world No 5 Dominic Thiem, and world No 10 Pablo Carreno Busta, who, incidentally, has replaced Nadal at the ATP Finals.

Nadal arrived at MWTC last year ranked No 9 following an injury-shortened 2016 season. After winning the MWTC title for a fourth time, Nadal proceeded to the Australian Open final before embarking on a year that culminated with his return to the top ranking.

He will therefore hope the Abu Dhabi tournament can have a similar effect this time around, although the immediate focus will be on getting healthy.

"I can't complain. I feel very lucky about all the things that are happening to me," Nadal added.

"But on the other hand, it is true that I am probably the top player that had more injuries and more troubles in the careers of everyone. It is always about this challenge. But I am used to this and I know what I have to do. I think I am ready to do it."