Rafael Nadal apologizes after withdrawing from Asian tournaments with bad knee

World number one Rafael Nadal has announced his withdrawal from upcoming tournaments in Beijing and Shanghai due to his bad knee. (AFP)
Updated 19 September 2018
0

Rafael Nadal apologizes after withdrawing from Asian tournaments with bad knee

LONDON: World number one Rafael Nadal has announced his withdrawal from upcoming tournaments in Beijing and Shanghai due to the right knee injury that forced him to retire from the US Open earlier this month.
Nadal had to pull out during his semifinal against Juan Martin del Potro in New York and also missed Spain’s Davis Cup defeat by France last weekend.
The 32-year-old said he visited doctors in Barcelona on Monday and has subsequently made the decision to play neither the ATP 500 event in Beijing nor the Masters 1000 in Shanghai.
“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,” Nadal said on Wednesday.
“I’m sorry I can’t be with all the fans in China and with the organizers of the Beijing and Shanghai tournaments that have always had a great relationship with me and my team.”
Nadal is the defending champion in Beijing, where he beat Nick Kyrgios in the final last year. He was also runner-up in Shanghai, denied by champion Roger Federer.
Missing both tournaments next month leaves the way open for Novak Djokovic to finish 2018 top of the ATP world rankings, despite another positive season for Nadal.
The Spaniard clinched his 11th French Open title in June after also winning clay-court tournaments in Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome.
He lost in the semifinals at Wimbledon to Djokovic before the knee problem hampered his progress at Flushing Meadows.


Lewis Hamilton tells rivals ‘catch me if you can’

Updated 20 February 2019
0

Lewis Hamilton tells rivals ‘catch me if you can’

  • Five-time world champion feeling confident of a sixth crown ahead of new season.
  • Pre-season testing going well in Barcelona.

BARCELONA: Lewis Hamilton has warned his rivals they had better get ready to catch his dust as he is feeling “better than ever” ahead of the season.
The 34-year-old Briton enjoyed a near flawless run to secure his fifth drivers’ title last year. He won 11 of the 21 races to beat Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with two races to spare, and he expects the Italian marque to once again keep him on his toes.
“Ferrari are very strong,” Hamilton said in Barcelona on the third day of pre-season testing.
“It appears they have a better package than last year, which means it will be a bigger challenge for us.
“In the last few years, Ferrari has looked good from the very beginning so that’s to be expected.”
But he said it would be a mistake to draw any hard and fast conclusions from the evidence thrown up by testing.
“We’ll have a better idea I guess this time next week where we stand but still then we won’t know what fuel loads everybody is on and who is showing their cars and who isn’t.”
Hamilton, with a new two-year deal that will earn him £40 million ($52 million) a season, is buzzing after the winter recess.
“I feel in the best shape that I’ve been in,” he assured his fans, as he embarks on his quest for a sixth championship and record sixth consecutive constructors’ crown for Mercedes.
On a sixth title he shrugged: “I am not even focusing on that. It’s a new season, a new year, a new chapter and we have to approach like it’s our first.
“We’re going for number one, that’s how I approach it.
“But it’s not something that I allow my peers to talk about. It’s not what we are here for to focus on that number.”
He dismissed out of hand any notion of complacency setting in at his all-conquering team.
“We are always driven to do something new and to break boundaries and do stuff that no one else has done before but we are fully aware of the work that it will take to deliver something like that and it’s by no means like ‘yeah we are going for the sixth’ like it’s a relaxed thing.
“It’s not like that.”
Hamilton’s bid for title number six begins at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17.