'Sad to hear': Tennis fans left gutted over Andy Murray development

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Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, pictured here at the Madrid Open.
Andy Murray withdrew from his highly-anticipated clash Novak Djokovic at the Madrid Open. Image: Getty

Tennis fans were left saddened on Thursday night when Andy Murray withdrew from his blockbuster clash with Novak Djokovic at the Madrid Open.

Murray and Djokovic were poised to play their first head-to-head match in five years in the Spanish capital, however fans were robbed of the eagerly-anticipated showdown because of illness.

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Not long before Murray was scheduled to take the court against the World No.1 in the third round, he announced that he had withdrawn from the tournament due to a stomach bug.

“Unfortunately, Andy Murray is unable to take to the Manolo Stadium due to illness. We wish you a speedy recovery," officials announced.

Tournament director Feliciano Lopez later told the Daily Mail: “I had a message yesterday from Andy that he was not feeling well.

"He had food poisoning, it sounds like he is feeling better this morning but is still not well enough to go on the court.”

It would have been the first time Murray and Djokovic played against each other since the Serb won the Doha final in 2017.

Murray had won his first two matches in Madrid, defeating Dominic Thiem and Denis Shapovalov.

The former No.1 hadn't won consecutive matches since January and hadn't played in a clay-court tournament in nearly two years.

Andy Murray, pictured here in action against Denis Shapovalov at the Madrid Open.
Andy Murray in action against Denis Shapovalov at the Madrid Open. (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Ranked 78th in the world, the 34-year-old has been making his way up the rankings since having hip surgery in both 2018 and 2019.

He had arrived in Madrid with a 10-8 record in eight tournaments and made it to the Sydney final in January, where he lost to Aslan Karatsev.

Tour officials gave no further details on Murray’s illness. The three-time grand slam champion said after the win over Shapovalov that he was feeling fine physically.

Djokovic now advances to the quarter-finals - his second of the year after losing in the final at the Serbia Open last month.

Fans expressed their disappointment on social media that they wouldn't get to see Murray and Djokovic battle it out - possibly for the last time.

Rafa Nadal digs deep to get past David Goffin

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal saved four match points to beat Belgian David Goffin 6-3 5-7 7-6 (11-9) to edge into the quarter-finals.

Just as his beloved Real Madrid came back from the brink the night before to reach the Champions League final, the 35-year-old Nadal found extra energy on Thursday to win a lengthy tie-break and secure the 1050th win of his career.

"Yesterday was an unforgettable night. The spirit that Real Madrid had was just incredible," said Nadal, who'd attended the match at the Bernabeu in which Real had pulled off an extraordinary comeback to knock out Manchester City.

Rafa Nadal, pictured here during his win over David Goffin at the Madrid Open.
Rafa Nadal celebrates during his win over David Goffin at the Madrid Open. (Photo By Oscar J. Barroso/Europa Press via Getty Images)

"For me today, in some way, it was an inspiration.

"It was a tough match, David played at a very high level but at the same time I am not completely happy, because I think I had to finish the match in straight sets, without a doubt."

There was nothing to separate the two men in the third set that went to an absorbing tie-break, where Goffin initially bounced back from 4-1 down to nearly clinch victory before Nadal finally prevailed in a marathon.

"Three hours 10 (minutes) on court helps increase my physical performance. A very important victory, saving match points, that (gives me) confidence to keep going," Nadal said.

"I need matches and I need days like today to be fit."

with agencies

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