World No. 3 Rafael Nadal announced his withdrawal from the ATP Masters 1000 in Montreal due to a lingering abdominal injury ahead of the singles main draw confirmation on Friday.
Defending champion Daniil Medvedev, second seed Carlos Alcaraz - making his debut at the tournament, and Stefanos Tsitsipas lead the way into the 2022 edition of the National Bank Open presented by Rogers, to be held next week in Montreal, Canada.
However, three top players will be missing the tournament. World No. 2 Alexander Zverev, still recovering from an ankle injury - sustained during his semifinal match at the French Open against the eventual champion, Nadal, and World No. 6 Novak Djokovic, unable to enter the country due to his vaccination status.
World No. 3, Rafael Nadal is the latest player to pull out from a highly competitive field. The Spaniard sustained an abdominal issue that prevented him from contesting his Wimbledon semifinal against Nick Kyrgios.
The injury continues to bother the 22-time Grand Slam champion, forcing him to delay the start of his campaign at the hard-court swing.
In a statement issued on Friday through Tennis Canada, the five-time champion outlined: “I have been practicing for a while now without serving and started with serves, four days ago.
“Everything has been going well. However, yesterday, after my normal practice, I felt a slight bother on my abdominal, and today it was still there.”
The 36-year-old further remarked: “After speaking with my doctor, we prefer to take things in a conservative way and give a few more days before starting to compete.”
In terms of injuries, 2022 continues to challenge the Manacor native, albeit, in terms of results, the hard work to overcome any obstacle is paying off. Thus far this season, Nadal has achieved iconic feats in his career with brilliance.
Eugene Lapierre, Director of the Montreal Tournament, commented: “We are obviously disappointed that Rafael will not be with us this year. A five-time champion of our tournament and the last men’s champion in Montreal (2019), fans were obviously eager to see him back in action at the IGA Stadium.
“On the other hand, when we take a broader perspective, we still have a very strong board with the presence of 41 of the 44 best players in the world. With such a strong field, it is a safe bet that the IGA Stadium will once again showcase very exciting tennis!
The top field includes fourth seed Casper Ruud, local stars Felix Auger-Aliassime and Denis Shapovalov, Andrey Rublev, and Italian players Jannik Sinner and Matteo Berrettini, as the likes of Briton Cameron Norrie, Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, and Australian Kyrgios.
First Round Matchups to Keep an Eye On
On Monday, a week of high-level tennis will set off. The first-round clashes will see World No. 23 Pablo Carreno Busta against Berrettini in a rematch of their Australian Open fourth-round encounter, won by the Roman in three sets.
Furthermore, 14th seed Reilly Opelka will face Frenchman Gael Monfils for the second time at tour-level - their last meeting dates from 2019 in Estoril, where the Parisian defeated the American player.
Another first-round highlight will be brought to you courtesy of three-time Grand Slam champion Murray and World No. 13 Taylor Fritz, playing one another for the first time on Tour.
On Thursday, while competing at the Citi Open ATP 500 in Washington D.C., the American stopped play to retire in the third set of his match against Daniel Evans when the latter was leading 3-6, 7-6 (6), 4-1.
Moreover, the reigning BNP Paribas Open champion took to his Twitter account to express what led him to take the decision to pull out from the encounter.
The 24-year-old wrote: “First off, health-wise, I’m okay. I feel embarrassed not being able to finish a match.”
“I’ve never pulled out of a match in my life, but after my episode in Toronto last year where I pushed myself to finish the match and almost passed out, I assured my team I would pull out if similar symptoms happened again.”
Adding: “Many don’t know this, but I have been in a boot since Wimbledon, and although I have been doing heavy fitness while in the boot, no amount of assault bike in the gym can prepare you for playing a long match in these type of conditions,” referring to the heat wave affecting the climate in the country.
“I constantly felt like I was going to pass out; my vision was going fuzzy. Now that my foot feels better, I can finally put in the on-court work and be prepared for the rest of the year,” he concluded.
The National Bank Open presented by Rogers runs from August 8 to 14.