Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Nadal pulls out of French Open

Published:Saturday | May 28, 2016 | 5:00 AM
Defending champion, Switzerland’s Stan Wawrinka, clenches his fist as he plays France’s Jeremy Chardy during their third-round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros yesterday. Wawrinka won 6-4, 6-3, 7-5.

PARIS, France (AP):

For a decade, Rafael Nadal ruled Roland Garros the way no other man has dominated any Grand Slam site.

Yesterday, his powerful left wrist wrapped in a blue brace, Nadal delivered the surprising news that he was withdrawing before his third-round match at the French Open because of an injury that would prevent him from delivering the whiplike, spin-heavy forehand that carried him to a record nine championships and a 72-2 record on the tournament's red clay.

"To win the tournament, I need five more matches," Nadal said, his face expressionless, his arms crossed in front of him. "And the doctor says that's 100 per cent impossible."

His announcement, at what he called "one of the toughest press conferences in my career", overshadowed everything else going on around the grounds on Day 6 of the French Open, from the straight-set victories by defending champion Stan Wawrinka and No. 2-seeded Andy Murray, to the out-of-nowhere 6-0, 6-7 (3), 6-0 upset of two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova by 108th-ranked Shelby Rogers, a 23-year-old American.

Nadal's withdrawal robbed the event of more star power, coming a week after 17-time major champion Roger Federer pulled out because of lingering back problems.

AIMING FOR FOURTH TITLE

It cleared one potential obstacle from the path of No. 1 Novak Djokovic, who is attempting to win a fourth consecutive major title and his first in Paris - and could have faced Nadal in the semi-finals.

Fourth-rounders established Friday included No. 3 Wawrinka against No. 22 Viktor Troicki, No. 5 Kei Nishikori against No. 9 Richard Gasquet, and No. 8 Milos Raonic against unseeded Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Women's fourth-round matches will be Rogers against No. 25 Irina-Camelia Begu, No. 2 Agnieszka Radwanska against unseeded Tsvetana Pironkova, No. 4 Garbine Muguruza against No. 13 Svetlana Kuznetsova, and No. 6 Simona Halep against No. 21 Sam Stosur.