Novak Djokovic withdraws from Madrid Masters days before tournament | Tennis | Sport

Novak Djokovic has pulled out of the Madrid Masters 1000 on the eve of the tournament after doubts were raised over whether he would participate in the pre-French Open event. The Serb has endured a difficult start to the 2024 season and withdrew from the Spanish competition for the third time in the last four years.

The Madrid draw was due to be made on Monday, but organisers have been made aware that Djokovic will not be competing as he continues to carefully manage his schedule.

Djokovic, 36, reached the semi-finals at Monte Carlo before he was defeated 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 by Casper Ruud and furiously ranted at the umpire in his first loss to the Norwegian, as he continues to seek a first tournament win of the year.

The 24-time Grand Slam champion has not yet released a statement to confirm that he will be absent in Madrid, or explain why he is skipping the event, but was not named on the most recent tournament list and is set to be replaced by Frenchman Luca Van Assche.

Djokovic reached the semi-finals in his most recent visit to Madrid, losing against Carlos Alcaraz, but has rarely committed to events that last longer than a week in recent times.

The 2003 US Open champion Andy Roddick felt that Djokovic needed more rhythm and matches going into the French Open, but won’t be doing so in Madrid.

“He needs to play more tennis going into Roland Garros. He knows better than anyone how to manage this part of the year,” Roddick said on his Served podcast. “He has slowly ramped up the clay court season to get to a Roland Garros title, so I’m not worried about him.”

Alcaraz remains in the draw as he hopes to return from an arm injury, having not competed this month as doubts raise before the second Major of the year.

“I don’t want to rush, I don’t want to say that I will be 100 per cent in Madrid, although that is my intention,” the Wimbledon champion said as Spanish tennis fans face the prospect of missing out on Djokovic and Alcaraz.

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