As some Spanish media report, world no. 1 Novak Djokovic will not at the next week's Madrid Masters 1000 event, deciding not to defend the title claimed two years ago. After Saturday's loss to Aslan Karatsev in the semi-final in Belgrade, Novak said that he can't say much about playing Madrid, remaining focused on Major tournaments.
The Serb battled for three and a half hours against the Russian in front of the home fans, struggling physically and deciding to change his schedule, which now should include Rome, Belgrade 2 and Roland Garros. Novak has won 12 out of 14 matches in 2021, making a perfect start in Melbourne and claiming the ninth Australian Open crown.
Dealing with an abdominal injury since the third round, Djokovic somehow finished the tournament with the trophy in his hands, taking a break in the next couple of weeks and withdrawing from the Miami Open. Returning to the court two weeks ago in Monte Carlo, the Serb suffered an unexpected third-round loss to Daniel Evans in straight sets before flying home to Belgrade, leading the field at the Serbia Open.
After two commanding wins over Soonwoo Kwon and Miomir Kecmanovic, Novak faced a much more challenging opponent in the battle for the final, losing to Aslan Karatsev in three grueling sets after wasting jaw-dropping 23 break chances!
Not feeling good on the court and needing a rest, Djokovic will most likely skip the upcoming Madrid Open, hoping to play at his best in the following events and fight for the second Roland Garros title.
By some reports, Novak Djokovic won't defend the Madrid Open title next week.
Djokovic is a three-time Madrid Open champion, lifting trophies in 2011, 2016 and 2019, in the last edition of this event that had to close the gates at Caja Magica in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Novak found his 'A game' to beat Taylor Fritz, Jeremy Chardy, Dominic Thiem and Stefanos Tsitsipas for the second season's second title two years ago. In the title match, Novak took down Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 32 minutes, controlling the pace from start to finish to conquer Masters 1000 crown number 33 and join Rafael Nadal at the top of the list.
It was the second final at this level for Tsitsipas after Toronto 2018, and it came after beating Rafael Nadal in a thrilling match on the previous night, with not having enough energy to give his best against world no. 1 a day later.
Stefanos reached only one deuce on the return and never created a break point. On the other hand, Novak broke the youngster once in each set to bring the match home in style and conquer the third Madrid crown, the first since 2016.
Djokovic did everything right on the court, taming rival's shots and delivering a fine package of offensive tennis and solid defense to leave Tsitsipas behind and cross the finish line first, hitting 28 winners and just 18 unforced errors.
Stefanos counted to 19 winners and 21 mistakes and failed to follow Novak's pace in the shortest and mid-range rallies, with the Serb making a crucial difference with the first groundstroke after the serve.