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Nadal pulls out of Chennai Open

Sports Reporter

Ivan Ljubicic confirms participation

Chennai: In a big blow to the tournament and the fans, World No. 2 Rafael Nadal pulled out of the Chennai Open on Monday, due to a prolonged left foot injury, which he suffered in October. World No. 9 Ivan Ljubicic, who helped Croatia win its maiden Davis Cup, will replace the Spaniard.

Dejected Nadal

"It is with a heavy heart I am announcing my inability to play. I was eagerly looking forward to coming to Chennai again and was very excited about playing there and trying to win the season's opening tournament. Both my medical team and I have been working very hard during the last few weeks so that I could participate at Chennai. But my doctor has now recommended me not to play and it's my misfortune that I can't make it," a dejected Nadal said from Spain.

Contributing his bit

But Nadal is sure to win the hearts of disappointed fans, after he announced that he would offer a sum of $25,000 towards the Chief Minister's Relief Fund in aid of the Tsunami victims. "I hope this contribution will help many families return to normalcy," added Nadal.

Ljubicic has been awarded a wild card to facilitate his entry into the singles draw. "It is great to participate at the Chennai Open. I have heard excellent things about the tournament, the city and its tennis fans from various players on the Tour and am looking forward to play in this leading event. Though it is my first visit, I am hopeful of getting a good start to the ATP Champion's race in the New Year," a thrilled Ljubicic said, from Croatia.

Exciting player

"He is a hard-hitting baseliner and can produce some breathtaking ground strokes. He is capable of packing off the game's biggest names. Amongst the individual players, he has had the best performance in Davis Cup since John McEnroe in 1982. It is most definitely exciting to have Ljubicic grace the tennis courts of Chennai," said Vijay Amritraj.

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