Federer replaces injured Nadal in new league

Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:22am EDT
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By Amlan Chakraborty

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Rafa Nadal has withdrawn from the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL) but the organizers pulled off a coup on Monday by naming Swiss maestro Roger Federer as replacement for the injured Spaniard.

Fourteen times grand slam winner Nadal dealt a big blow to the fledgling tournament by pulling out of the Indian franchise citing 'health problems'.

"When you are talking of profile as high as Rafa Nadal, there was probably only one name that could have helped ease the pain and for us fortunately Roger was available and we made it happen," IPTL founder Mahesh Bhupathi told reporters.

"Rafa has been hurt since Wimbledon, he has not played any tennis. So obviously there was a risk there, in the format we have neither party wanted to take a chance.

Nadal, who has a 23-10 head-to-head lead against Federer, missed the U.S. Open last month after failing to recover from a right wrist injury he sustained in practice.

"I am very disappointed to announce that I will not be part of the first edition of the IPTL," Nadal, 28, said in a statement from the organizers.

"I was looking forward to representing Indian Aces and playing in front of fans in New Delhi in the exciting new League.

"I wish the team the very best and hope to be back next year."   Continued...

Switzerland's Roger Federer reacts during his Davis Cup semi-final tennis match against Italy's Fabio Fognini at the Palexpo in Geneva September 14, 2014. REUTERS/Pierre Albouy