The tennis world has been left shattered after Novak Djokovic followed in Rafa Nadal's footsteps and has withdrawn from the Madrid Open only weeks out from Roland Garros. Last week, Nadal left the tennis world stunned when declared his recovery hadn't progressed as planned and he couldn't take part in the tournament.
And in tough news, the Madrid Open released a statement and claimed Djokovic has also withdrawn from the tournament. Djokovic lost to Dusan Lajovic 6-4, 7-6 at the Srpska Open, which followed on from another shock exit against Lorenzo Musetti in Monte Carlo.
Ahead of his latest tournament, Djokovic addressed a persistent elbow injury that has been causing him pain. "My elbow is not in an ideal shape but good enough to be ready for the first match," Djokovic told reporters ahead of the tournament. "One of the good things in tennis is that you get new opportunity to prove your worth every week and take a step forward. I've turned over a new leaf."
Djokovic struggled in the tournament before he was eliminated and it appears the injury is serious enough to worry the 22-time grand slam champion as he has withdrawn from the Madrid Open.
"Novak Djokovic is unable to compete at the Madrid Open," the tournament wrote. "Wishing you a speedy recovery, we hope to see you back on court as soon as possible."
The news has certainly taken the tennis world by surprise. Djokovic's withdrawal marks the first time neither Nadal or himself has played the tournament since 2002.
The Madrid Open has never not featured one of Djokovic, Nadal or Roger Federer since it's inaugural competition. Tennis fans are concerned for the grand slam winners with Djokovic's injury described as 'worrisome' before the French Open.
Sad. Seems neither Nadal or Djokovic will be in top shape for RG.
— Manish Kori (@Sportshub500) April 22, 2023
There is now the possibility of Rafa and Nole both missing Roland Garros.
— Piscean1 (@piranhaC4455990) April 22, 2023
Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from Madrid.
With Rafa Nadal & Djokovic both out of the tournament, this lead up to Roland Garros will be strange, to say the least. pic.twitter.com/j6e4uDSPhX
— The Tennis Letter (@TheTennisLetter) April 22, 2023
Rest and recover well Nole 🙏 💪
— JAKE 🇦🇺 (@IncrediblyBozza) April 22, 2023
What a sad news! 💔
— Mirabelle (@___mirabelle__) April 22, 2023
Worried for his elbow. Hope he will be fine by rome or rg.
— sunshine. (@crazyheadimp) April 22, 2023
I hope it’s not his old elbow problem! This is worrisome
— Murali (@murali_iygr) April 22, 2023
Djokovic is yet to make a comment since the tournament's announcement he wouldn't take part in Madrid. The World No.1 has missed the Madrid Open before in 2021, which saw him go on to win Roland Garros. However, his form entering the 2023 clay court season is worrying having gone 2-2.
The World No.1 might be looking ahead to defending his Rome Open title, which he won last year. Nadal has won a record eight Madrid Open titles.
Djokovic has won the tournament twice and is the defending champion.
Rafa Nadal in worrying signs ahead of French Open
Nadal is hoping for a record-extending 15th French Open title at Roland Garros in May, but the hip flexor problem he suffered in Melbourne has badly disrupted his preparation for the clay court grand slam. He pulled out of hard-court tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami, with his sights set on a return at the start of the clay-court season, but it did not come to fruition.
Many were expecting the Spaniard to come out charging for the clay court season after he was initally meant to miss eight weeks. However, has also been forced to withdraw from Monte Carlo and Barcelona, with his omission from the Madrid Masters the latest brutal blow for the 36-year-old.
"For the moment I've missed Monte Carlo and Barcelona. And unfortunately I won't be able to be in Madrid either," Nadal said on Instagram. "The injury still hasn't healed.
With Djokovic and Nadal both under injury clouds, Carlos Alcaraz could firm as strong favourite for a maiden Roland Garros title.
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