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Novak Djokovic announcement stuns tennis fans amid fresh Nick Kyrgios setback

The World No.2 hasn't played since his loss to Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final.

Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios.
Novak Djokovic has locked in his return to tennis but Nick Kyrgios is still out. Image: Getty

Novak Djokovic has locked in his return to the ATP tour following his loss in the Wimbledon final, however Nick Kyrgios' chances of playing at the US Open are getting slimmer and slimmer. Djokovic hasn't played since his loss to Carlos Alcaraz in the final at the All England Club, and recently announced his withdrawal from the upcoming Canadian Open.

But on Tuesday it was announced that Djokovic will be back in action at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, which begins on August 12. The ATP 1000 events in Toronto and Cincinnati serve as major lead-up tournaments to the US Open - the final grand slam of the year.

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While Djokovic said he needed a break and wouldn't be playing in Toronto, he confirmed that he will be taking part in singles and doubles in Cincinnati. Djokovic will be part of a star-studded field, with World No.1 Alcaraz also locked in to play the Masters 1000 event.

Novak Djokovic to play singles and doubles in Cincinnati

It will mark Djokovic's first event in North America since 2021. He was famously barred from entering America and Canada for two years running due to his vaccination status.

His decision to play doubles appears to be an attempt to get more match practice under his belt. The Cincinnati Open shapes as Djokovic's only event before the US Open. Others suggested he is preparing for the upcoming Davis Cup and next year's Olympics in Paris.

Coach Goran Ivanisevic recently said: "He rested a bit, but now preparations are starting for the American tour. Preparations begin at the end of next week, fitness starts slowly, and then tennis. I don’t know exactly, but there the week after he leaves for Cincinnati.”

Novak Djokovic in Cincinnati in 2019.
Novak Djokovic in action in Cincinnati in 2019. (Photo by Adam Lacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The US Open shapes as a chance for Djokovic to get revenge over Alcaraz and extend his lead over Rafa Nadal for the most men's grand slam titles. Nadal, who won't be back in action until next year, has 22 compared to Djokovic's 23.

“He is always motivated, a grand slam is a grand slam,” Ivanisevic said. “It will be a big fight again. It is good that at Wimbledon, but also before in Paris, a rivalry was created between two players who are 16 years apart. Each of their next matches will be even better, crazier and more watched.”

Nick Kyrgios withdraws from Canadian Open

The news isn't so good for fans of Kyrgios, with the Aussie withdrawing from the Canadian Open on Tuesday. The Aussie star has played just one match at ATP level this year following knee surgery in January and torn ligaments in his wrist before Wimbledon.

Kyrgios is now in a race against time to be fit for the US Open, although he might opt to remain sidelined until next year and return at the Australian Open. Speaking last week, the 28-year-old cast further doubts on his future in tennis by saying there was no way he'd still be playing in five years time.

"No f***ing chance. No way. Bro, there's no chance I'm playing until 33," he said on a video posted by the Ultimate Tennis Showdown. "Kyrgios playing until 33 is insane! I'm not playing until 33. Nah, I promise you, when I'm gone, you'll never see me again.

"The schedule is out of control. I'm getting old. 28. Yeah. But all the drinking and partying, I'm like 57."

Defending champion Pablo Carreno Busta and local hope Denis Shapalov also withdrew from the event in Toronto on Tuesday. Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori, American JJ Wolf and Japan's Kei Nishikori received automatic entry into the main draw as a result.

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