Following the announcement from World No. 1 Rafael Nadal that he has withdrawn from the China Open and Shanghai Masters due to a knee injury he sustained at the US Open, Novak Djokovic’s hopes of ending the year as World No. 1 may soon become a reality.
Nadal took to Twitter on Wednesday to confirm that he is skipping the Asian Swing on the advice of his doctors and team, which is the latest setback in a career blighted with knee injuries for the 17-time Grand Slam champion.
In his Twitter statement he said (in Spanish): “While the annoyances on my knee are nothing new, we have decided together with my medical and technical team not to participate in the Asian tour to recover the knee the way we have always done.”
It wasn’t even conceivable before Wimbledon that Novak Djokovic was in contention of ending the year world No 1. But after rediscovering his best form, the re-appointment of long-time coach Marian Vajda, and winning Wimbledon, Cincinnati, and clinching his US Open crown, The Serb is now in prime position to overtake Nadal at the top of the summit.
Should Djokovic win the Shanghai Masters, he would be 125 points behind Nadal in the year-to-date rankings. Nadal is set to lose will 1100 points as he will not be able to defend his China Open title or best his runners-up showing at the Shanghai Masters where he lost to Roger Federer last year.
Djokovic isn’t currently slated to play in Beijing, which begins at the beginning of October, but with Nadal’s absence from the field and the world No. 1 ranking in sight, it isn’t without the realms of possibility that The Serb may take up the option of asking for a wild card from the tournament organizers in the next week or so.
Also going in Djokovic’s favor as well is that from now until the end of the season he doesn’t have any points to defend after he cut his season short last year due to an elbow injury.