Stan Wawrinka, Gael Monfils withdraw from Cologne 2

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Stan Wawrinka, Gael Monfils withdraw from Cologne 2

Three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka and world No. 1 Gael Monfils have withdrawn from Cologne 2. Wawrinka, ranked at No. 18 in the world, kicked off his indoor season at the St. Petersburg Open this week. Former world No.

3 Wawrinka made the semifinal in St. Petersburg, before losing to rising Canadian star Denis Shapovalov in straight sets. Meanwhile, former world No. 6 Monfils isn't ready to return to action as he will take another week off.

Monfils last played at the French Open, where he suffered a disappointing first round loss against Kazakhstan's Alexander Bublik. Monfils, 34, has played poorly since the season restarted in August. The Frenchman skipped the Cincinnati Masters and US Open and instead kicked off his season restart in Europe.

Monfils, who considers clay as his favorite surface, underachieved during the clay swing as he picked up three first round exits at the Rome Masters, Hamburg and French Open, respectively. Meanwhile, world No. 23 John Isner has pulled out of the Paris Masters and Vienna.

Isner, 35, also hasn't played since losing in the first round at Roland Garros. Isner has had success on the indoor hard courts of Paris as he made the final at Bercy in 2016 -- in which he ended runner-up to Andy Murray.

In Vienna, Isner has never made it past the quarterfinal.

Wawrinka praised Rafael Nadal in St. Petersburg

Last Sunday, Nadal demolished Novak Djokovic 6-0 6-2 7-5 to lift a record 13th French Open title. "What [Rafael Nadal] is achieving so far in the French Open is one of the greatest achievements of any sports probably, winning 13 time [the] French Open," Wawrinka said of Nadal claiming a record 13th title at Roland Garros, per Max Gao.

"The way he is doing it, it's something amazing. I had the chance to play him there [twice] at the French Open, always got killed, so I know how difficult it is to play him there." Wawrinka also reflected on the greatest of all-time race as he said: "And I think it's always difficult to compare [the Big Three], especially those amazing athletes, especially that they are still playing, so we don't know [who the greatest of all time is right now].

"I think we will have to wait and see. I think we have to more enjoy that they are still playing, they are still doing something amazing for our sport in general, and that's something that I like to watch. I like to watch them play and as long as they will play, I will enjoy that."