Spanish tennis star, Rafael Nadal confirmed on Monday that he will miss the ATP finals in London and not play again this season after undergoing an operation on his right ankle in Barcelona.
Nadal has only been able to take up his hard won place at the Finals three times in the past seven years - and last season was far from fit as he pulled out after just one match.
Djokovic is the clear favourite at the ATP Finals in London this month. "However, since the abdominal problem has prevented me from playing in London, we chose to operate on my ankle".
With Nadal out of competitive tennis for the rest of the year, Novak Djokovic is assured of ending the season on top of the world rankings.More news: Firebrand Marsha Blackburn retains Tennessee Senate seat for GOP
"I did everything I could to keep in good condition to come to the end of the season, and really wanted to play in Paris and London".
"We had detected it for some time and it occasionally bothered me. However, right now stomach muscles won't let me go to London, we make use of the time to remove the body and avoid problems in the future", said Nadal.
But Djokovic has gone 43-5 since, including Grand Slam titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open after reuniting with Marian Vajda, the longtime coach with whom he had split.
The 32-year-old Spaniard is hopeful that he will be fully fit in time for the start of the 2019 season in Brisbane.
Nadal - who has not featured on the ATP Tour since retiring ahead of his semi-final with Juan Martin del Potro at the US Open in September - posted an update to Twitter on Wednesday morning (AEDT), confirming he had returned following procedure.