Hours before the start of the tournament on 30 October, second seed Roger Federer announced he would not take part following his run to the title at the Swiss Indoors in Basel.
“We are at the end of the season,” said a grim faced Nadal. “It's normal that these kind of things happen. My knee is always, you know, bothering a little bit, but sometimes it's worse, and now is a little bit worse."
Before his withdrawal, 31-year-old Nadal secured the position of end of year number one for the fourth time in his career. He held the accolade for the first time in 2008. He was also top of the pile on 31 December in 2010 and 2013.
“What I take out of Nadal’s participation is his effort,” said Forget. “He came and gave pleasure to thousands of people in his two matches.
“He also got his spot as end of year world number one here in Paris. Last year in Paris, Andy Murray became world number one for the first time. So it’s true we have our disappointments but there are often lots of good stories coming out of the event.”
Forget conceded that the timing of the tournament – two weeks before the season ending championships – had always created difficulties.
“Back in 2013 and 2014, we had the eight players who were going to be at the season ending championships in the quarter-finals here,” he recalled. “We’ve also had occasions where the final places for those championships have been decided here in Paris.”
With six players confirmed for the eight man championships in London before the action in Paris, David Goffin pocketed the seventh spot before losing in the last 16 to the French veteran Julien Benneteau.
Pablo Carreno holds the eighth berth for London but will be dislodged if the ninth seed John Isner wins the title in Paris.
The 32-year-old American advanced to a semi-final against Krajinovic on Friday with a three set triumph over Juan Martin del Potro who would have progressed to London with victory in the quarter-final.
“Coming into this tournament I wasn’t thinking about London at all,” admitted Isner after his win. “I was thinking about what football games I was going to watch back home when the tournament was over. But certainly now – and I’m not going to lie about it - London is in my mind now and it would be great to qualify for that.
“But you get to the semi-finals of a tournament like this and it’s going to be tough.”
Krajinovic, at world number 77, would appear a more pliable prospect than Nadal though. “He has come through the qualifying rounds and he plays with a lot of energy and a lot of momentum,” said Isner. “I don’t blow people off the court so I know the semi-final against him could go either way.”