Novak Djokovic has sensationally withdrawn from the Madrid Open, the ATP Masters 1000 tournament announced on Wednesday. The world number one recently suggested that he would be reducing his timetable to spend more time with his young family.
It means that the Serbian will not retain the title he won in 2019. Djokovic earned the latest of his three Madrid Opens by defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-4.
The news comes after the 33-year-old was surprisingly beaten by world number 28 Aslan Karatsev at last week’s Serbia Open. He also lost to 33rd-ranked Dan Evans in Monte Carlo.
The Madrid Open begins tomorrow.
“Sorry that I won’t be able to travel to Madrid this year and meet all my fans,” Djokovic said, via a tweet from the official Madrid Open account.
“It’s been two years already, quite a long time. Hope to see you all next year!”
Meanwhile, the Madrid Open has slashed its prize fund by 60 per cent compared to two years ago.
The combined pot is now around £4.5m. The tournament will also be played in front of a reduced crowd of around 40 per cent its usual capacity.
tournament director Feliciano Lopez told abc.es: “Any post-covid event is a daily fight. The sponsors have responded in an incredible way in a difficult situation for everyone. I appreciate it to all of them. [The pandemic] complicates everything a lot, for the players and the public.
“We have always been an innovative and courageous tournament and it is the way to show that little by little we can return to normality.”