July 14 | 06

Unfortunately, Rafa is unable to defend his title at the Mercedes Cup in Stuttgart because of an injury to his left hand.

Rafa first felt the pain in his left hand after his quarter final match at Wimbledon, where he beat Jarkko Nieminen. He was able to play his semi final match and final match in London as the pain disappeared when he was warming up. However, after seeing his doctor in Barcelona on Wednesday, he was told his hand had been overworked and was advised to rest it.

The injury came about with the change in surface, from clay to grass, and Rafa was forced to change his grip slightly which overworked his left hand. Having won his ninth career title in Stuttgart last year, Rafa is understandably very disappointed to have to withdraw. Here is a message from Rafa: "I feel very bad that I haven't been able to play in Bastad, and now I have to miss out on the tournament in Stuttgart, which is a tournament I love. But now, my priority is to recover quickly to be able to face the American hard court series with an assurance of good play. A hug to everyone" Rafa Written by, Kate Flory