World No 1 Novak Djokovic has pulled out of the Mutua Madrid Open, the tournament announced on Wednesday. Djokovic, a three-time Madrid champion, had won the tournament’s most recent edition in 2019. He suffered a surprise defeat to Aslan Karatsev in the semifinals of the Serbia Open last week. It is surprising to note that the Serbian has only played four tournaments this year and it also includes his 18th Grand Slam victory at the Australian Open in February.
A message from the tournament’s official Twitter account read: “Novak Djokovic will not be playing in the Mutua Madrid Open.” It followed with Djokovic saying, “Sorry that I won’t be able to travel to Madrid this year and meet all my fans. It’s been two years already, quite a long time. Hope to see you all next year!”
The COVID-19 pandemic had forced the 2020 edition of the tournament to be cancelled. It means Djokovic is still the last person to win the Masters 1000 event, which he achieved in 2019 after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.
It is not clear when the Serbian will return to action but as of now, he is set to play Rome Masters and the Belgrade 2 event.
The Madrid Open begins this week, with the women’s main draw starting on Thursday and the men’s tournament on Sunday.
Japanese tennis player Kei Nishikori has withdrawn from the Millennium Estoril Open on Tuesday due to a right abductor injury.
“I am very disappointed to have to withdraw from Estoril. I came here early, took some days off and then had two very good days of practice,” Nishikori said in a statement.
“Yesterday, unfortunately, I stepped wrong and hurt my right abductor. We are doing checks and do not think it is serious, but unfortunately will not be ready to play a match in the next 48 hours.”
“I wish Joao and the team a great tournament and hope to be able to come back here at some point in the future.”
Roberto Carballes Baena will replace Nishikori in the draw as a lucky loser. He will take on two-time Grand Slam finalist Kevin Anderson in the second round.