World No.10 David Ferrer of Spain Monday pulled out of the inaugural Champions Tennis League (CTL) due to an inflamed lower back.
"I am sorry to tell my fans in India and in Punjab that I will not be able to play the Champions Tennis League in India. Over the last six weeks, my tournament schedule has been hectic and because of the many games I've played, a serious inflammation in the lower back has appeared," Ferrer said in a release. (See India Through my Eyes, Vijay Amritraj Tells Martina Hingis and Venus Williams)
"This prevents me from being able to compete at 100 percent. This injury will not allow me to perform to the best of my ability as I feel pain in my back and I need 10 to 15 days to recover."
Ferrer said he was looking forward to playing in India for the first time and hoped he could participate in the next edition.
"I was very excited to play for the Punjab Marshalls team in the Champions Tennis League but unfortunately this year is impossible. I hope I can come to India next year and be a part of the league."
CTL promoter Vijay Amritraj said that it was now a challenge for the organisers to find someone who will be a suitable replacement for Ferrer who will bring "charisma and personality" along with world class tennis skills to the Marshalls team.
"This is a sad day for the Champions Tennis League. David Ferrer is a great player and to not have him come and play for his team, the Punjab Marshalls, is a big blow to both the Marshalls as well as to us at CTL. His injury is hopefully a minor one, but we wish him a speedy recovery," he said.
CTL is a six city-based franchise tennis league to be played from Nov 17-26 and will be held across Indian cities of Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru and Chandigarh.