In a stunning blow to the competition in this year’s ATP Tennis Master’s Cup in Shanghai, Rafael Nadal (left foot) and Andre Agassi (ankle) have withdrawn from play.
Taking the place of Nadal and Agassi will be Mariano Puerta and Fernando Gonzalez. Agassi and Nadal join Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Roddick, and Marat Safin as big names who have begged out of the tournament due to injury.
ESPN.com had this to say:
“Having both Raf and Andre injured in one day is extraordinary,” tournament director Brad Drewett said. “And it comes on the back of three other significant withdrawals.”
Pulling out before the tournament were third-ranked Andy Roddick (back) and Australian Open winner Marat Safin (knee). Lleyton Hewitt, ranked fourth, remained in Sydney with his wife, actress Rebecca Cartwright, who is expecting the couple’s first child within two weeks.
“It’s unprecedented and unfortunate to have this number of players injured at the same time,” Drewett said. “No doubt, we still have good players, starting with Roger.”
Unprecedented? This is down-right disastrous! There hasn’t been this much talk of “pulling out” since the last Vatican press-release on contraception. Has the ATP considered simply giving the trophy and prize money to Federer and skipping the formalities at this point? The only man who stands a chance of beating him is Ljubicic and even that scenario is a stretch of the imagination.
Shanghaiist is out at the Master’s Cup all week and will keep you posted on the latest news, but it doesn’t appear that any of the newsmakers (besides Federer) will be in attendance so don’t get your hopes up.
The real competition now is between Element Fresh, Golden Jaguar, or Sodexho to determine who provides best event catering service. Shanghaiist says the good money is on E.F. with the Jaguar as a solid sleeper pick.
Also on Shanghaiist:
Roll out the red carpet (and x-ray machine) for Federer
Get your ‘Ljubicic’ and ‘Davydenko’ banners ready
Check out more photos from Dan Washburn, who somehow got front row seats on Monday.