PARIS – Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal said on Monday that Swiss great Roger Federer pulled out of the Paris Masters so he could be in top form for the ATP Finals, which will be held in London.
“After winning Shanghai and winning Basel, he believes (missing Paris) will be better for his body and for his preparation for London,” Nadal said in a press conference in Paris.
Federer, winner of a record 19 Grand Slam titles, announced his withdrawal from Paris, the last Masters event of the year, after clinching his 8th Swiss Indoors title in his hometown of Basel on Sunday.
The 36-year-old Federer has been planning his 2017 schedule more carefully after missing almost the whole second half of the 2016 season due to an injury.
Federer skipped the entire clay-court season in 2017, but he has won seven titles, including the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
Federer’s decision paved the way for Nadal to end the year as world No. 1 for first time since 2013 with just one win in the tournament.
“Let’s see. I need to win a match. But I am here to try my best, as in every tournament,” Nadal said of a tournament he has never won.
“Of course, if that happens, it will be something important for me. But season is not over and this is not the moment to think much about that. I will just try to think about trying to have the right preparation for the tournament and then try to be ready for the first match,” the 31-year-old Nadal said.
Nadal regained top form in 2017 after an injury-plagued couple of seasons, winning six titles, including his 10th Roland Garros trophy and third US Open crown.
The 16-time Grand Slam champion said he was about the situation in Catalonia, where the regional parliament declared independence from Spain, prompting the Spanish government to impose direct rule over the region.
Nadal, who criticized the independence bid, said these were tough times for both Spaniards and Catalans, but that he had faith in the ability of Spanish democracy to overcome the situation.