Novak Djokovic explains his Madrid Masters withdrawal

Novak Djokovic decided to skip Madrid and prepare for Rome and Roland Garros

by Jovica Ilic
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Novak Djokovic explains his Madrid Masters withdrawal
© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic skipped the Madrid Masters, opting not to chase his fourth Caja Magica title. Novak spoke about the Madrid withdrawal ahead of Rome, ruling out physical issues. The Serb did not plan to compete in the Spanish capital, so he took more time off the official action and prepared for Rome and Roland Garros.

Novak has yet to win an ATP title in 2024, heading to Rome without a trophy only for the third time since 2007. World no. 1 will kick off the campaign at Foro Italico against Corentin Moutet, seeking his seventh Rome Masters title.

Djokovic is 11-4 this season, reaching the Australian Open and Monte Carlo semi-final.

Novak Djokovic, Rome Masters 2024© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak lost the Australian Open title to Jannik Sinner, suffering a heavy loss against the Italian in a battle for a place in the final.

World no. 1 missed all the action in February and headed to Indian Wells for the first time since 2019. Novak fell to the young Italian Luca Nardi, who stunned the world's best player 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the third round. Djokovic asked for a stomach pill, not playing at his best and losing ground in the decider despite a fine display in set number two.

Novak Djokovic, Rome Masters 2024© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic skipped the Madrid Masters to prepare for Rome and Roland Garros.

The Serb struggled on the return, delivering only two breaks and getting broken three times from 11 chances offered to the young gun.

Luca played fearless tennis against his idol, landing 36 winners and 41 unforced errors. Novak responded with 18 winners and 31 mistakes, performing well in the shortest rallies but losing the edge in the more advanced ones.

Novak missed Miami and switched his focus to clay, entering Monte Carlo after a series of poor results at his home event. Djokovic defeated Roman Safiullin, Lorenzo Musetti and Alex de Minaur in straight sets, reaching the semi-final and setting the clash against Casper Ruud.

Novak Djokovic, Rome Masters 2024© Mike Hewitt / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The Norwegian toppled the Serb 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 in two hours and 17 minutes, celebrating his first win over Novak. Djokovic had the upper hand in the second set and claimed 11 points more than Ruud, thanks to a convincing scoreboard.

However, the Norwegian made a fresh start in the decider and forged a 4-1 advantage. The Serb climbed back, gathering a boost and hoping for a complete turnaround. Instead, Djokovic got broken while serving to stay in the match at 4-5, hitting a costly double fault and propelling Ruud over the top.

Novak skipped the Madrid Masters and will return to action in Rome on Friday, with another potential duel against Casper in the quarter-final.

Novak Djokovic Madrid Masters Roland Garros
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