MASON, Ohio - Western & Southern Open defending champion Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the 2014 tournament due to a right wrist injury.
"Unfortunately I injured my right wrist yesterday during practice and after the tests I have undergone today in Spain, including an MRI, and checking with my doctors, I will have to stay out of competition for at least 2-3 weeks," the 28-year-old was quoted as saying in a release from W&S Open organizers.
Nadal, the No. 2-ranked player in the world, has also decided not to play in the ATP Masters 1000 event in Toronto, which precedes the event in Mason, Ohio.
"I am sorry and wish the best to the tournament and thank all of the fans for their support," he continued. "I'm extremely disappointed that I am unable to defend my titles and compete in Toronto and Cincinnati this year. I was looking forward to coming and playing again after my great results last year."
The W&S Open will be played Aug. 9 through Aug. 17 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center.
The event is part of the Emirates Airline US Open Series, a kick off event for the US Open. The grand slam tournament goes from Aug. 25 to Sept. 8.
W&S Open director Vince Cicero called Nadal's decision not to play in Cincinnati "unfortunate," both because he'll not be able to defend his 2013 title and because of how he's received by fans, who travel from around the world to Mason to watch him play.
"It is very unfortunate that Rafa is unable to defend his title. He is a great champion, and his run to the title last year electrified our fans," Cicero said. "We will miss him, and we wish him a very speedy recovery."
In last year's final Nadal defeated upstart American John Isner, grinding out a 7-6 (8), 7-6 (3) result to claim the championship.
While Nadal is a fan favorite and one of the top players in the world, Cicero is confident the field will remain competitive thanks to several other top players who are scheduled to compete, namely Roger Federer and the ATP's top-ranked player, Novak Djokovic.
"The men's field remains incredibly strong, with five-time champion Roger Federer, two-time champion Andy Murray, and Novak Djokovic, who is on a quest to become the first to complete the Career Golden Masters with a title here," Cicero said. "We're looking forward to welcoming these men along with the top WTA stars to Cincinnati in just nine days."
In addition to Nadal, four other players have had to withdraw from the 2014 competition due to injury. The list includes Nicolas Almagro (foot), Alexandr Dolgopolov (knee), Tommy Haas (shoulder) and Florian Mayer (groin).
Replacing them in the field are two-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt, as well as Julien Benneteau, Denis Istomin, Yen-Hsun Lu and Gilles Simon.
In total, 23 of the top 25 players on the ATP World Tour remain entered in the Western & Southern Open. Each of the top 39 ranked players on the WTA are scheduled to play in the women's tournament.
Both the men's and women's tournaments at the Western & Southern Open will consist of 56-player singles fields. Four men and up to five women will be awarded wild cards into the tournament.
In addition, a two-round qualifying tournament will be held August 9-10 in which an additional seven men and 12 women will earn berths into the W&S Open. The main draw will be made on the evening of Aug. 8.
The Western & Southern Open is one of only five tennis events in the world, outside of the grand slams, where the best men and women play during the same week at the same venue.