Novak Djokovic helps ill spectator on way to victory at Paris Masters

He was scheduled to face his fellow Spanish Fernando Verdasco in the second round on Wednesday afternoon, but made his decision to withdraw from the competition just prior to the duel. "It was unbelievable. I never expected that something like that can happen", he said.

"I felt better than I thought I would one week ago but in the last few days I started to feel a bit in my abdominal, especially when I was serving", said the 17-time grand slam victor.

Djokovic endured a prolonged struggle for form and fitness after losing the number one ranking in November 2016, but he has enjoyed a sensational upturn in fortunes since the start of July.

Djokovic, who is looking to win his 33rd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 crown this week in the French capital, will return to the summit of men's professional tennis on Monday nearly two years to the day since he completed his 223rd and most recent week in top spot.

It marked the culmination of a dizzying ascent by the Serb, who had slumped to No 22 in the rankings in mid-June, but subsequently won Grand Slams at Wimbledon and the US Open as well as Masters 1000 titles in Cincinnati and Shanghai. "As long as I don't feel like I'm taking a chance on my health prior to London (the ATP Tour Finals), that's the key as well", Federer said.

"I can not answer. I just go day by day", the 17-time Grand Slam champion said. But I had a commitment since one year ago to play there. Nadal has dealt with off-and-on knee problems for years and, given his injury record, the 32-year-old Spaniard prefers to be cautious.

"I don't like to involve myself in any political exchange or situations, it's unfortunate that we are both drawn into this right now", Djokovic told reporters at a news conference ahead of the Paris Masters. I've played in only nine tournaments and have retired in two.

When asked about his prospects for London - a tournament he has already missed six times because of injury - Nadal replied "I am very sorry but I can not answer you".

Nadal is optimistic his latest injury will pass, providing he does not rush back. "I don't want to get into details but I think it's a minor thing".

"In the middle of second set, I overextended my elbow and it did some kind of pain", he said.

Federer is chasing a 100th career title, while Djokovic is looking to win the Paris Masters for a record-extending fifth time.

German fourth seed Alexander Zverev was another to go through as he beat American Frances Tiafoe 6-4, 6-4.

Sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem won 6-4, 6-2 against Gilles Simon, beating the Frenchman for the eighth time in 10 meetings.

  • Stacy Allen