Miami - World
number two Novak Djokovic won't defend his Miami Masters title next
week, saying on Sunday that he was withdrawing because of an elbow injury,
the same ailment that has also sidelined top-ranked Andy Murray.
"Sadly, I won't be able to defend my title in Miami this week," Djokovic said in a Facebook posting.
"My doctor has strongly advised against play because my elbow injury,
that I keep carrying on for months, got worse in the past week. I will
do everything in my power to recover and do all the necessary therapy to
be able to return on court as soon as possible."
Djokovic joins world number one Murray on the sidelines for the elite
hard court tournament. Murray pulled out on Saturday, also with an elbow
Even as Murray withdrew, there were reports that Djokovic was seeing a
doctor in Monte Carlo about elbow trouble after falling in the fourth
round to 16th-ranked Nick Kyrgios at the Indian Wells Masters.
Djokovic's loss to Kyrgios was his second in as many weeks to the
Australian, who also upset him in the quarter-finals at Acapulco.
"Believe me, it is as shocking to me as it is to you," Djokovic told his fans on Facebook.
"I had incredible run in Miami, I won there my first Masters
tournament and started my campaign towards the top of the world
rankings. No wonder they say that in sport the biggest and most painful
defeats come from injuries, and not from opponents.
"I am lucky that throughout my career I didn't have many injuries,
but I guess that all that I've been through physically in the past so
many years did leave a mark on my body."
Djokovic, a 12-time Grand Slam champion, announced the move on
Twitter, saying, "I apologize to my fans and ppl who purchased tickets
to watch me play live at @MiamiOpen. Sadly, I'm injured and won't be
able to compete."
"We wish a quick recovery to our champion," tournament organisers tweeted.
Not only are the world's top two men missing from the Miami event,
the biggest name in the women's game, Serena Williams, will miss the
Florida tournament with the knee trouble that also caused her to opt out
of Indian Wells.
The tournament will, however, have the women's world number one, with
Germany's Angelique Kerber poised to return to the summit on Monday
despite a fourth-round exit at Indian Wells because of Williams's
Kyrgios's triumph over Djokovic ended the Serb's 19-match winning
streak at Indian Wells, where he had won the last three titles to go
with those he took in 2008 and 2011.
Djokovic's withdrawal from Miami is just the latest setback for a
player who endured a drop in form after completing the career Grand Slam
with a long-sought French Open victory last year.
He relinquished his Wimbledon and US Open titles and was shocked in
the first round of the Rio Olympics by Juan Martin del Potro, losing his
world number one ranking to Murray along the way.
Although he opened 2017 on a promising note with a title in Doha, he
slumped to a second-round exit at the Australian Open, and didn't play
again until Acapulco.