Nalbandian Replaces Roddick in Shanghai Field
A lower back injury has sidelined World No. 3 Andy Roddick, forcing him to withdraw from Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai. Roddick sustained the injury on Friday during his quarterfinal match versus David Ferrer at the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris.
The 23-year-old American was to make his third consecutive appearance at the $4.45 million circuit finale, which begins this Sunday at the new Qi Zhong Stadium. Roddick owns a 5-3 record in the event and reached the semifinals of Tennis Masters Cup Houston in both 2003-04.
"Though I have tried to continue with practice, the lower back spasms continue,” said Roddick. “After being evaluated by medical staff upon my return to the United States, it is now clear that I am not able to resume tennis-activities for 10-14 days.
“I apologize to the loyal fans and sponsors that have expected my participation in Tennis Masters Cup. It is an honor for me to have qualified for this event for the third-straight year. I realize the tremendous amount of time and effort the ATP and the Chinese government have spent on the event, and know it will be a huge success. I look forward to getting healthy, starting my off-season workouts for the 2006 season, and working towards qualifying for Shanghai next year.”
Roddick’s injury translated into David Nalbandian’s good fortune. The Argentine, who had a strong circuit finish that included back-to-back semifinal appearances in Masters Series Madrid and Basel, was elevated from his alternate status to a berth in the elite eight-man field. The Argentine titled in Munich this year, and was one of three players along with Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt to reach the quarterfinals or better in three Grand Slam tournaments.
Nalbandian played in the 2003 Masters Cup, and is the third Argentine to qualify for this year’s finale, joining countrymen Guillermo Coria and Gaston Gaudio. The other contenders set to take the stage in Shanghai include World No. 1 Federer, Spanish teen sensation Rafael Nadal, 12-time circuit finale competitor Andre Agassi, and first-time qualifiers Nikolay Davydenko and Ivan Ljubicic.
Tennis Masters Cup Doubles will be played concurrent with the singles final in Shanghai. Teams competing are Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan and Jonas Bjorkman/Max Mirnyi – who are locked in a battle for year-end No. 1 honors - Wayne Black/Kevin Ullyett, Mark Knowles/Daniel Nestor, Leander Paes/Nenad Zimonjic, Michael Llodra/Fabrice Santoro, Wayne Arthurs and Paul Hanley and Wimbledon champions Wesley Moodie and Stephen Huss.