New Delhi, Sep 16: Indian tennis fans were disappointed today (September 16) as 14-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal pulled out of the opening singles match against Ramkumar Ramanathan in the Davis Cup World Group Play-off tie.
As per the draw, 30-year-old Nadal was scheduled to face Ramanathan in the India-Spain contest opener on Friday but he, about 1 hour before the match, withdrew due to wrist injury. (Paes wants to learn from Nadal)
"Rafa has been struggling with his wrist for last 2-3 months, he did not want to take risk. We talked with the captain and decided it was the right decision that I should play. There is a good chance that he might play tomorow either with Marc or with me. Lopez made it clear that Nadal did not have an upset stomach but did not take the field in view of the wrist injury," Feliciano Lopez said later.
There were long queues outside the RK Khanna Tennis Stadium to watch world number 4 Nadal but they were left disappointed. Feliciano Lopez was named as Nadal's replacement to play the first singles rubber. (Paes on the verge of another record)
Yesterday (September 15), Ramanathan, the world number 203, was excited to face Nadal.
"It is a dream-come-true to play Rafa. He is one of the best players of all time. It is a great feeling to be playing him. We need to keep the first few games close and then I think we can pull the crowd over. I need to play some aggressive tennis and I have to go for my shots no matter what," the 21-year-old Ramanathan had said.
#INDESP Change of nomination for the singles rubbers in New Delhi as Feliciano Lopez replaces Rafa Nadal— Davis Cup (@DavisCup) September 16, 2016
"We are playing under heavy conditions. It is very warm and humid. The Indian players have chosen to play in these conditions. The team playing at home, in their own conditions, are always dangerous. The conditions are different here," Nadal told reporters at the Davis Cup draw on Thursday.