Rafael Nadal is out of the Paris Masters after a second-round defeat by American Tommy Paul in just the Spaniard’s second match since the US Open and first since becoming a father.
World number 31 Paul came from a set down to beat Nadal 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-1.
Defeat for Nadal, who has battled an abdominal injury since the summer, saw his hopes of ending the year as world number one suffer a huge blow.
He faded towards the end of the second set against 25-year-old Paul, who secured one of the wins of his career.
The Paris Masters is the final regular ATP Tour event of the season, before the ATP Finals get under way in Turin on 13 November.
Both titles are missing from 22-time Grand Slam champion Nadal’s illustrious trophy cabinet.
“At the end, I need days on the Tour,” Nadal said. “It’s true that for the last five months I didn’t spend enough days on the tour. I don’t even say competing on a tennis court; I say on the tour, practising with the guys. That’s what I need.”
On competing at the ATP Finals, Nadal said: “I am going to try, if nothing happens, if I am feeling OK, to be there a little bit earlier than usual and have some practices.
“Just give myself a chance to enjoy another Finals. You never know when is going to be the last, especially at my age,” he added.
“So I’m going to give my best to enjoy this one, and then next years of course I’m going to fight to be back there.”