Doubts over whether Serb will be fit to take part in Australian Open in January
First Mubadala, now Djokovic pulls out of Qatar Open with elbow injury
Twenty-four hours after pulling out of his semi-final match at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship with an elbow injury, former world No 1 Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from next week’s Qatar Open, casting doubt on his participation at the Australian Open later in January.
A persistent elbow injury that has sidelined Djokovic for over six months saw him withdraw from his MWTC semi-final match with Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut hours before they were due on court on Friday on the advice of his medical team.
The 12-time grand slam champion was top seed in Doha, but in a statement he said he would not be able to defend the title he won by beating Andy Murray last year.
"Unfortunately, the situation with the elbow has not changed for the better since yesterday," Djokovic said.
"I still feel the pain. Therefore, I will have to withdraw from [the] ATP tournament in Doha."
More on MWTC:
- Schedule and lowdown: Serena Williams makes her tennis return and Kevin Anderson wins title
- Andy Murray says being out on court at Mubadala World Tennis Championship was 'good fun'
- Jelena Ostapenko 'honoured' to be Serena Williams' first opponent on return to game at MWTC
The Serb added: "Only when I'm 100 per cent ready to play, I will be able to come back.
"I hope it will be soon. I want to thank everyone for patience and understanding."
The latest announcement raises fresh doubts over Djokovic's long-term future and more immediately his availability for the first grand sam of the season, the Australian Open, which begins on January 15.
Austria's world No 5 Dominic Thiem, who was beaten by South Africa's Kevin Anderson in Friday's only MWTC semi-final to take place, has now been made the Qatar Open top seed.