x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Withdrawing from Madrid, Novak Djokovic aims for Rome return

Novak Djokovic has not shaken off an arm injury and has been forced to pull out of this week’s Madrid Open Masters event. The world No 2 aims to return for the Rome Masters in a week.

Novak Djokovic wants more time to heal an ailing right wrist so he will miss the Madrid Masters and plan to return to the courts for the Rome Masters in a week. Sebastien Nogier / EPA
Novak Djokovic wants more time to heal an ailing right wrist so he will miss the Madrid Masters and plan to return to the courts for the Rome Masters in a week. Sebastien Nogier / EPA

Novak Djokovic has not shaken off an arm injury and has been forced to pull out of this week’s Madrid Open Masters event, the Serbian world No 2 said on Sunday.

Djokovic, who was hampered by the injury, which is thought to be to his right wrist, at last month’s Monte Carlo Masters where he lost to Roger Federer in the semi-finals, said he hoped to be back for the Rome Masters starting next Sunday.

“I am very sorry for the Madrid tournament and all the Spanish fans to have to pull out,” Djokovic told the ATP website. “I did everything possible in order to play in Madrid, which is one of the biggest events of the year, but unfortunately my right arm injury has flared up again.

“Now I will take some time to recover and heal my injury, hoping I will be ready for Rome. I look forward to returning to Madrid next year.”

Djokovic would have had a chance of toppling Rafael Nadal from the No 1 spot at the clay event in the Spanish capital.

If Spaniard Nadal, who won in Madrid last year, had failed to reach the quarter-finals and Djokovic had triumphed in the final the Serb would have overtaken him at the top of the rankings for the first time since October.

Nadal, 27, has been well below his best on his favourite surface in recent weeks, losing in the quarter-finals at Monte Carlo and Barcelona to compatriots David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro respectively.

“When you lose, you have a hard moment, you have more doubts,” Nadal said on Sunday. “I’m here to fight and to try to play even better.

“I don’t think I have to change many things. I think I can change very small things, and the change can be quite drastic and quite big. That’s what I’m working on right now.

“When you come from tough moments like this, you come back with a little more intensity to try to be back as soon as possible.”

Qualifier Martin Klizan pulled off a shock victory over top-seed Fabio Fognini in yesterday’s final of the Munich Open to claim only the second title of his career.

The Slovakian, ranked 111th in the world, recovered from losing the first set to claim a 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 win, which denied Fognini, ranked 13th in the world, his third straight title in Germany having won last season’s Hamburg and Stuttgart tournaments.

The final was a low-key affair with Klizan suffering from abdominal pains, needing treatment in the first set and writhing in pain at each change, while Italy’s Fognini had to be treated in the third set for the same problem.

At the Portugal Open in Oeiras, Argentina’s Carlos Berlocq beat Czech top seed Tomas Berdych 0-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the final.

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