Novak Djokovic's persistent arm injury forced him out of the Madrid Open. (Wilfredo Lee/AP)
Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the Madrid Open due an ongoing right wrist injury he suffered four weeks ago before the Monte Carlo Masters.
Djokovic issued a statement last week clarifying that tests revealed the injury to his right wrist wasn't as serious as he previously expected and that doctors assured him that with the proper rest he should be ready for Madrid. After returning to the practice court, the pain returned.
"I am very sorry for the Madrid tournament and all the Spanish fans to have to pull out of the Mutua Madrid Open,” Djokovic said. “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.”
Djokovic had an opportunity to retake the No. 1 ranking from Rafael Nadal this week in Madrid. But with his eye on the French Open, which begins in three weeks, his decision to pull out of Madrid is a smart one and he can still use next week's Italian Open as his final Paris tune-up. The withdrawal also saves his body from having to deal with the transition from Madrid's altitude to Rome, where the conditions are more similar to Paris.
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Djokovic's withdrawal opens up the bottom half of the draw for No. 3 Stanislas Wawrinka and No. 5 David Ferrer. No. 85 Paul-Henri Mathieu, who defeated Ryan Harrison to qualify for the main draw, will take Djokovic's spot in the draw and with it, a bye into the second round.
Read a full preview of the Madrid Open draw here