The Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament officially confirmed that world No. 1 will not be defending the title in Madrid next week.
The announcement was made public by the tournament organizers on Wednesday, with Novak Djokovic stating: “Sorry that I will not 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 ATP Masters 1000 event had to be canceled in 2020 due to the ongoing global pandemic; its most recent edition (2019) saw the three-time Madrid champion taking victory against Monte-Carlo Masters champion Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The Serbian player decided against traveling after his appearance in Belgrade last week, where he lost in the semi-finals to world No. 28 Aslan Karatsev in a three-hour and 26 minutes epic match.
Furthermore, it is the first time since 2015 that the nine-time Australian Open titlist misses the event.
The 33-year-old is not the only player to pull out from the tournament; at this moment, world No. 13 David Goffin has been forced to retire due to an adductor injury, Roger Federer, Stanislas Wawrinka, and Gael Monfils also join the list of withdrawals from Madrid.
Next month, Djokovic is expected to feature at the Italian Open and the Belgrade Open ahead of Roland Garros.
Spanish rising star Carlos Alcaraz enters the ATP Masters 1000 with a wild card, so does countryman Fernando Verdasco.
The competition gets underway on Sunday at Madrid’s Caja Magica (Magic Box), with the qualifiers run for the men’s tournament, while the women’s main draw begins on Thursday.
The Magic Box features three tennis clay courts, the main one named after Spanish legend Manolo Santana; each court has a retractable roof, which guarantees the action, regardless of weather conditions.
Health as the priority
In order to ensure the protection of all those participating in the event, the Madrid Open has partnered with the healthcare company, ARQUIMEA.
Together, they established a healthcare system in the Caja Mgica and official hotels, performing COVID-19 tests on the players and all the tournament staff as part of the standing safety protocols.
In that regard, the tests carried out will range from PCR and antibodies (ELISA) tests, providing results in 4 hours, to antigen tests, with results in approximately 15 minutes.
The ATP Masters 1000 tournament will be held from 27 April to 9 May.