ATP round up: Nadal and Murray fall injured & Djokovic makes it to the quarter-finals
Rafael Nadal withdraws due to injury
Nadal was keen to play the warm-up event for the Australian Open in two weeks but was forced to reconsider on medical advice after sustaining a thigh injury. The Spaniard opted not to play his second match at an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi last week so he would not exacerbate the problem.
“I did an MRI and it shows a small staring on my left thigh. I tried to play, I wanted to play, but recommendations from the doctors (were otherwise)” Nadal said.
Nadal has not played in the tour since the US Open in September and retired from his Flushing Meadows semi-final against Juan Martin Del Potro due to a knee injury. He later had ankle surgery in November.
The latest news about his thigh injury creates concern that Nadal will not be able to compete in the first Grand Slam of the season in Melbourne on 14th January. He will hope sitting out this week will enable him to be fully recovered before then.
Lucky loser Taro Daniel will replace Nadal in the second round against Tsonga.
Andy Murray is out and worries about his future
The anticipated return of Andy Murray came to a halt at the Brisbane International after he was defeated 7-5, 6-2 by Daniil Medvedev in their second-round meeting. Murray slipped to 240th in the world rankings following surgery on his hip and has recently admitted he does not know how much longer his career will last.
His purpose was to return and prove he is not yet done from playing tennis. For the fans, it’s great seeing Murray back on the court, but at what condition and what price?
“There is going to come a time where the youngsters take over…” Murray said truthfully. Playing in the condition he is now will not get him very far. Nonetheless, he remains fighting and will continue playing if his hip remains the way it is ‘today’.
Djokovic into Qatar quarter-finals
World No.1 and two-time champion Novak Djokovic earned his 12th straight win when he beat Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 on Wednesday. Djokovic admitted it was a struggle at first, calling Fucsovics the ‘better player’.
“He played really well, smart, changing the rhythm and the pace of the ball and moving around. I was kind of in a corner and I had to find my way and fight my way through.”
The match came to an end after exactly 2 hours as a backhand winner secured victory for Djokovic. However, the result was in doubt for a long time, with the Serb only breaking Fuscovics in the tenth game of the second set to ensure the match went into a final set shootout.
Djokovic added: “I knew his qualities and especially in the slower conditions, so I did expect that it was going to be a match with a lot of rallies and very physical and that has proven to be the case.”
Djokovic will now go ahead to play fifth seed Nikoloz Basilashvili in the quarter-finals. If he wins his last eight match, Djokovic is on course to meet Stan Wawrinka in the semi-finals after the Swiss also won on Wednesday, beating Chile’s Nicolas Jarry 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).