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Rafael Nadal forced to withdraw from Paris Masters, Novak Djokovic to reclaim No. 1 spot

PARIS AFP: Rafael Nadal had to pull out of the Paris Masters on Wednesday, guaranteeing Novak Djokovic’s return to the world number one spot.
Announcing his withdrawal at a hastily arranged press conference Nadal said: “My abdominal muscles haven’t felt good for the past few days, especially on serve, doctors recommended that I didn’t play.
“It’s been a difficult year for me in terms of injuries, and so I’d prefer to avoid doing anything drastic,” he told the media minutes before his intended match against compatriot Fernando Verdasco who will instead face Tunisian lucky loser Malek Jaziri.
“It wouldn’t have been good for me nor anyone to return to the court knowing that I wouldn’t be able to play my best.
Djokovic arrived in Paris knowing that he would regain the top spot he relinquished two years ago if he bettered the Spaniard’s performance at the indoor event he has won four times.
The Wimbledon and US Open champion becomes the first player to start the season outside the top 20 and end up top of the ATP rankings since Marat Safin in 2000.
The 14-time Grand Slam champion had begun his pursuit of the top spot in encouraging fashion with a 7-5, 6-1 defeat of Joao Sousa on Tuesday, his 19th consecutive win.
For Nadal it means delaying his long awaited comeback from injury which has kept him sidelined since the US Open.
Nadal was forced to withdraw from his US Open semifinal against Juan Martin del Potro in early September with a knee injury.
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