The news reached tournament director Ralf Weber on Saturday morning (8 June) by telephone: Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the 21st GERRY WEBER OPEN in HalleWestfalen. The 11-time Grand Slam winner and world number four explained how the grueling physical demands of recent weeks, including the French Open, were behind his decision to withdraw. 12 months ago, Nadal took part in the GERRY WEBER OPEN despite having knee problems. After being knocked out in the last-16 by Philipp Kohlschreiber, he subsequently went into Wimbledon suffering and, afterwards, was forced to take an almost seven-month injury-enforced break. Only at the start of February 2013 did he return to the Tour. The French Open record champion asked tournament director Ralf Weber to respect his decision.
Weber said: “It is a shame and regrettable that Rafael cannot come, but I can understand his decision. I know that it was not an easy one to take, but the player’s health comes first.” The 27-year-old’s withdrawal of the Mallorcan player at least is a positive for defending champion Tommy Haas, who is now fourth seed behind Roger Federer, Richard Gasquet and Milos Raonic, and gets a bye in the first round. “He will not now play until Wednesday at the earliest,” said Weber. “He is also grateful for an extra day of rest after his excellent French Open display. Tommy has also set himself a clear goal: he wants to defend his title.”
The vacated place in the field will be taken by Mischa Zverev (ATP rank 142). Tournament boss Ralf Weber gave the 25-year-old a wildcard. Zverev has very positive memories of the GERRY WEBER OPEN. In 2008, he picked up the second title of his career in the doubles alongside Russia’s Mikhail Youzhny. In the singles, the left-hander will be serving for the seventh time in HalleWestfalen with his two best results coming in 2009 and 2010, when he reached the quarter-finals. “I’m delighted to have received a wildcard,” said Zverev. “I always like playing in Halle.”
Rafael Nadal statement:
"I won't be able to come to Halle this year, after these past months and all the matches I have been able to play my doctors have recommended to rest after Roland Garros and start after a few days my preparation to play on grass courts. We all know the transition is not easy and after these past months I have to approach this in a different way. I am very sorry for my fans in Germany and in particular in Halle since the welcome I always had there was amazing and last year, organisers also made me feel very special. They have made a very special tournament and it will be a success. I hope I can return to play some time soon."