“Playing in Madrid Is Nothing Like Roland Garros”: Former British No.1 Backs Novak Djokovic for Skipping Madrid Open 2021

Novak Djokovic, the defending champion at the Mutua Madrid Open this year, has formally announced his withdrawal from the tournament. Having lost to Aslan Karatsev in the semi-finals of the recently concluded Serbia Open, the world number one plans to play yet another event on his home soil before boarding the flight to Paris for the French Open. 

Serbia's Novak Djokovic
Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Monte Carlo Masters – Monte-Carlo Country Club, Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France – April 15, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in action during his third round match against Britain’s Dan Evans REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Novak Djokovic announces his decision to back out of the Madrid Masters

Sorry that I won’t be able to travel to Madrid this year and meet all my fans”, Djokovic said in a press release. With this announcement, he joins Roger Federer, Gael Monfils, and Stan Wawrinka in the long list of absentees from the event. 

Djokovic’s decision to withdraw from the tournament attracted divisive opinions from tennis fans. While some of them agree with his decision, others felt that his clay-court scheduling this year would affect his French Open chances. 

Backing the world number one, former British tennis player Greg Rusedski said, “Everyone is talking about Djokovic not playing Madrid. Let’s remember playing in Madrid is nothing like Roland Garros.” 

The trouble with playing at Madrid Masters for any player is uneven bounce. Since the tournament is present at a higher altitude above sea level, it is almost impossible for the players to predict the bounce from the surface. 

Read more: WATCH: Novak Djokovic Begins Preparation for Clay Court Swing After Miami Open 2021 Withdrawal

“Novak would like to support his home event”, says Greg Rusedski

Rusedski also highlighted how the 18-time grand slam champion wants to support the tournament at Belgrade

Maybe Novak would like to support his home event & try a new lead-up schedule. Hard to argue with someone with 18 majors”, Rusedski explained.

Novak Djokovic
Tennis – Australian Open – Men’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 21, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during his final match against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Even though there are differing opinions to his decision, Djokovic has all the right in the world to decide which tournament he wishes to play. Also, the Belgrade tournament takes place just a week before the start of the French Open main draw. 

The Serb always maintained that grand slams are his priority, but if he decides to play the home tournament, it will be a dent in his chances in Paris. However, he is yet to confirm his participation at the Belgrade event.

Read more: Defending Champion Novak Djokovic Skips Mutua Madrid Open, Prioritizes Hometown Event Ahead of the French Open 2021

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