Rafael Nadal pulled out of the ATP Finals and brought an end to his season after defeat by Belgian seventh seed David Goffin in his opening round-robin match.
The Spaniard came into the tournament with doubts swirling over his fitness after pulling out of the Paris Masters with a knee injury.
Nadal said before the tournament his knee was “not perfect” but fought hard before losing 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (4-7) 6-4.
“No, I am off,” said Nadal.
“My season is finished. Yeah, I had the commitment with the event, with the city, with myself. I tried hard. I did the thing that I had to do to try to be ready to play. But I am really not ready to play.” “Is about the pain,” he added.
“I cannot hold with enough power to keep playing. I tried, but seriously it was a miracle to be very close in the score during the match. It really doesn’t make sense.
It is the sixth time Nadal has withdrawn from the season-ending tournament in 13 years of qualifying and he will be replaced by compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta.
Earlier, also in the Pete Sampras group, Grigor Dimitrov held his nerve to beat Dominic Thiem 6-3 5-7 7-5.
Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev won the opening matches in the Boris Becker Group on Sunday The pair will meet in Tuesday’s second singles match after Marin Cilic plays Jack Sock.