Rafael Nadal's frustrating second half to the year has worsened, with a new diagnosis of appendicitis. However, he isn't going to let the problem force him out of the Shanghai Masters.
The world no.2 has only just returned to action from the wrist injury sustained after Wimbledon that ensured he would miss his US Open title defence, and his new issue could halt his bid for momentum.
A comeback tournament at last week's China Open in Beijing saw him eliminated in the quarter-finals by underdog Martin Klizan in three sets. The Spaniard then admitted, after the loss, that he believed he would find it difficult to compete with his other top competitors considering the lengthy lay-off from the sport.
The Shanghai Masters offers the chance for the 28-year-old to recover some of his form, but preparations were thrown into doubt after falling ill.
Despite rumours suggesting otherwise, the world no.2 has revealed that he won't let the problem get in the way of the latest tournament in the Asian swing.
"I am not going to go for surgery. That's great news for me today," he told SkySports.
"That's why I'm here practising for 45 minutes, and trying to play tomorrow. But obviously I am not in my best condition."
Without the need for surgery, the former world no.1 will be free to face compatriot Feliciano Lopez in the second round after receiving a timely bye through the first.
Nadal also said that the chance of the condition getting worse were "very, very low," however it is something that he may need to look at when he returns home to Majorca after the conclusion of the Masters. The last thing he needs is to injure himself further before the ATP World Tour Finals next month.
"My idea is take it out, but you can imagine that I didn't (think) much about that yet. I am here in Shanghai," he continued.
“I just want to try. Then when I go back home, I will talk about the situation with my doctor."
While it won't force him to withdraw, this is not the news that Nadal would have wanted coming into Shanghai. His task to win a first title in the city was already looking like a tough ask when you consider the form of great rival Novak Djokovic.
The pair didn't get to meet in Beijing and Djokovic duly strolled to glory in the capital for the fifth time in six years, without dropping a single set. Shanghai is another stronghold of the Serbian's as well, having won it for the last two years.
Tennis fans would love to see another Djokovic/Nadal final; they haven't played since Rafa beat his rival to the Roland Garros crown. There's another player to be wary of though. Roger Federer didn't play the China Open but he will join the world no.1 and no.2 this week.
The three legends - with 38 Grand Slam titles between them - are the only players to qualify for the Tour Finals in London thus far.
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