David Ferrer last played at the Sony Open, where he lost in the final. (Alan Diaz/AP)
David Ferrer withdrew from next week's Monte Carlo Rolex Masters, citing a thigh injury he sustained in his final loss to Andy Murray at the Sony Open in Miami. The No. 1 Spaniard tweeted his apologies and hoped to be recovered in time for the Barcelona Open, which begins April 22.
No. 4 Ferrer sits 585 points and one ranking spot ahead of Rafael Nadal as the clay season begins. His decision to skip Monte Carlo won't threaten his position as he looks to hold off Nadal to keep the No. 4 ranking heading into the French Open. Having lost in his opening round last year to Thomaz Bellucci, Ferrer was defending a mere 10 points in Monte Carlo.
Nadal, the eight-time defending champion, is defending 1,000 points and can only lose ground to Ferrer regardless of the result. To catch Ferrer, Nadal will need to win every clay lead-up he plays -- Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Madrid and Rome -- and hope Ferrer suffers a few early losses. Otherwise, Nadal will go into the French Open, a tournament he's won seven of the last eight years, ranked outside of the top four for the first time since he first played the event in 2005.