Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has returned to the summit of ATP ranking by not even swinging a racket as Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Paris Masters with an abdominal injury.

Nadal’s withdrawal shortly before his match against fellow Spaniard Fernando Verdasco means Djokovic will overtake him when the new ATP rankings are published on Monday.

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“It was great to be here in Paris for a couple of days and practise with the guys,” Nadal told a news conference.

“But in the past few days, I started to feel a little bit (of an) abdominal (injury), especially when I was serving.

“I checked with the doctor and he said that he recommended to not play, because if I continued the abdominal may break and could become a major thing. And I really don’t want that.”

And after starting it outside the top 20, Djokovic can now become the first player since ATP rankings were introduced in 1973 to end the year at number one.