With Rafael Nadal’s official withdrawal from the ATP World Tour Finals in London, Juan Martin del Potro became the sixth qualifier into the year-end tournament after beating Brian Baker in the third round of the Swiss Indoors in Basel on Thursday. Currently ranked No. 8 in the 52-week rankings, it will be Del Potro’s third World Tour Finals and the first since his banner year in 2009, when he reached the final but lost to Nikolay Davydenko.
The soft-spoken Argentine, who won a tournament in Vienna last week, was excited to qualify for the eight-man field but took time to lament Rafa’s absence.
“I’m sad for Rafa, he’s really trying in his comeback. But it’s not easy after such a long time away. I had the same feeling with my wrist. We miss Rafa a lot on the Tour. He is one of the best players in history, he will come back strong. I’m sure it will be very soon.
“He will be ready to win a big event again, I know that he can play better than me when he makes his comeback, I wish all the best to him.”
There are two singles spots still up for grabs, with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Janko Tipsarevic leading the race.