Novak Djokovic back at No 1 after Rafael Nadal pulls out of Paris Masters
Novak Djokovic will reclaim the world No 1 ranking next week after incumbent Rafael Nadal was forced to pull out of the Paris Masters.
The 31-year-old Djokovic started the tournament knowing that if he bettered the Spaniard’s result in Bercy he would return to the top.
And the Serb won his opening match on Tuesday meaning Nadal had to beat Fernando Verdasco on Wednesday.
However, the 17-time Grand Slam winner withdrew from his second-round clash with an abdominal injury.
“It was great to be here in Paris for a couple of days and practise with the guys,” he said. “I enjoyed it [and] I felt in terms of tennis better than one week ago.
“But in the past few days, I started to feel a little bit [of an] abdominal [injury], especially when I was serving. I checked with the doctor and he said that he recommended to not play, because if I continued the abdominal may break and could become a major thing. And I really don’t want that.”
He added: “It’s been a difficult year for me in terms of injuries, and so I’d prefer to avoid doing anything drastic.
“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 will return to the top of the rankings for the first time since 2016 and he will be the first player to start the season outside the top 20 and end up top of the rankings since Marat Safin in 2000.
More from Tennis365:
Grand Slam Board confirms shorter grass-court season raising questions over the tennis calender
The 2021 grass-court season has been reduced by a week.
Ashleigh Barty provides perfect response to her world No 1 ranking critics with Miami Open title
Ashleigh Barty “has responded perfectly” to critics, writes Oli Jefford.
Roland Garros officials deny reports that 2021 French Open night matches will feature only men
Women could also feature during night sessions at Roland Garros.
French Open postponed by a week in hope for more spectators to attend
Main draw event due to start on May 30.
‘I was just hoping I didn’t trip and fall over,’ says Ashleigh Barty after successful clay return
Easy does it for Ashleigh Barty in Charleston.
OFFICIAL: 2021 French Open delayed as Roland Garros gets green light from tennis governing bodies
The 2021 French Open will now start a week later.
Tennis calendar set for fresh chaos as sport prepares for potential domino effect of French Open delay
Questions galore as French Open is rescheduled.
T365 Recalls: Five top Monte-Carlo Masters moments featuring Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
There have been plenty of historic moments at the Monte-Carlo Masters.
Iga Swiatek and Hubert Hurkacz set to bring Polish tennis to the forefront
Oli Jefford on Iga Swiatek and Hubert Hurkacz giving Polish tennis a big boost.
WATCH: Tennis player loses game after umpire forgets the score during WTA match
Astra Sharma told to “focus more on the score” by supervisor.