In the last few hours, the news has come that Novak Djokovic will not take part in the Mutua Madrid Open, the second Masters 1000 of the season on clay, scheduled from 2 to 9 May. The number 1 in the world did not start his campaign on crushed brick very well, having not gone beyond the second round in Monte Carlo (defeated by Dan Evans at the end of a disastrous match) and the semifinals in front of the Belgrade friendly public.
The 33-year-old Serbian had to give way to a wild Aslan Karatsev last week, author of perhaps the best match of his entire career. Nole has repeatedly reiterated that his goal is to be found 100% for the start of Roland Garros, which will start a week late due to the delicate health situation in France.
The 18-time Grand Slam champion, who won only once in Paris (in 2016), wants to avenge the blow he suffered at the hands of Rafael Nadal in the final of the last edition. Through his official Twitter account, former player Greg Rusedski has expressed his thoughts on Djokovic’s forfeit at the Caja Magica.
Rusedski on Novak Djokovic
"Everyone is talking about Novak Djokovic not playing Madrid," Greg Rusedski wrote on Twitter. "Let’s remember playing in Madrid is nothing like Roland Garros with the bounce and altitude.
Maybe Novak would like to support his home event & try a new lead up schedule. Hard to argue with someone with 18 majors!" Rusedski continued. He then added that Djokovic would most likely get an extra rest day in Paris ahead of his opener if he won the title in his hometown.
"It all depends how far he goes & maybe he prefers to play matches instead of practise," Rusedski wrote. "I am sure he will get an extra day rest if he wins the event leading up to RG." After winning the Australian Open this year, the Serb made his entry at the Monte-Carlo Masters and surprisingly got beaten by Dan Evans in the third round.
Even in his first tournament, Djokovic lost to the Russian Aslan Karatsev in three brutal sets. The Russian, who is on a roll this year, registered the biggest win of his career by defeating the Serb. However, Karatsev lost to Matteo Berrettini in the final.
The world number one is yet to win a title on the red-turf this year, but he is making plans by taking the bubble life into consideration at several tournaments. While the Serb is yet to take a call on the second Belgrade event, it will be interesting to see how he plans the remainder of the season.