Tennis

Nadal in race against time for Tour Finals

World No. 1 Rafael Nadal is facing a race to recover in time for the ATP Tour Finals which starts this Sunday.

The Spaniard's personal doctor said that they will do "everything possible" to enable the 16-time Grand Slam champion to compete at the season-ending event.

"We have done and are going to do everything possible for him to be (in London)," Angel Cotorro told Cope radio station, while making no guarantee of the Spaniard's presence in the English capital.

Nadal pulled out of last week's Paris Masters before his quarter-final with a knee injury, placing his participation in London in doubt.

Nadal, who has suffered from knee and wrist injuries throughout his career, decided to withdraw after having his right knee strapped during a third-round win over Pablo Cuevas.

Cotorro said that Nadal arrived in France "in good condition, but started to suffer a bit after the first or second match".

"He was worried and we did a series of tests, but there was nothing serious detected in his tendon. We're going to start a treatment that will allow him to continue muscular work... So that he can go to London as he wishes.

"You have to be optimistic but also realistic given this situation at the end of an extraordinary season. You have to be careful. Health takes priority."

Nadal has never won the eight-man Tour Finals - finishing as runner-up in 2010 and 2013 while missing two of the past three tournaments through injury.

His name was included in the draw made in host city London yesterday.

He heads the Boris Becker group and will face Belgian David Goffin, Bulgarian debutant Grigor Dimitrov and Austrian Dominic Thiem.

Six-time champion Roger Federer was paired in the same group as German debutant Alexander Zverev in the Pete Sampras group along with Croatian Marin Cilic, the man he beat in this year's Wimbledon final, and American Jack Sock who crept into the tournament after winning the Paris Masters.

Zverev, 20, has taken men's tennis by storm this year, rocketing up to No. 3 in the world rankings after winning five titles, including two Masters 1000 events.

"It's an honour to play there in London, it's my first time and hopefully not my last," Zverev said in Milan where he took part in an exhibition match at the Next Gen Finals, having dropped out to concentrate on London.

"I will try to prepare myself as well as I can and try to win many matches there."

He is one of three first-timers with Dimitrov finally qualifying after being long-predicted to become a regular member of the men's elite. Sock is the first American to qualify since Mardy Fish did so in 2011.

Goffin has qualified for the first time also, although last year he played a match as an alternate.

The event organisers will surely be sweating over Nadal's fitness.

Already, several big names are missing this year through injury, including 2016 winner Andy Murray, four-time London winner Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka. - WIRE SERVICES

THE DRAW:

PETE SAMPRAS GROUP

  • Roger Federer (World No. 2)
  • Alexander Zverev (3)
  • Marin Cilic (5)
  • Jack Sock (9)

BORIS BECKER GROUP

  • Rafael Nadal (1)
  • Dominic Thiem (4)
  • Grigor Dimitrov (6)
  • David Goffin (8)
Roger FedererRafael Nadallondon