The 2016 China Open that is scheduled to start on October 1, 2016, has suffered two big losses even before the tournament has begun. Just a few days after the WTA World No. 2 Serena Williams announced her decision to withdraw due to a shoulder injury, the men’s World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has opted out as well.
The Serb has cited an elbow injury as the cause of his withdrawal. The 29-year-old released a statement on his website www.novakdjokovic.com on Wednesday that said: “I am extremely disappointed not to be able to compete at the China Open this year. I’m still recovering from my elbow injury and have been advised not to play until my condition improves.”
The 12-time Major winner added that he will continue his rehabilitation and will make a return to the ATP Tour as soon as possible.
For the China Open, which is an ATP 500 event, Djokovic’s absence will be a big blow as he was the most dominant player in Beijing for the past few years. He is a six-time winner of this tournament and had an unblemished 29-0 record there, winning the last four years.
Poor mid-season for Djokovic
The Serb, who began the 2016 season with a bang and won the elusive French Open title to complete the much-coveted Career Slam, has tasted success only once since his Paris win. A slew of injuries and a self-admitted personal problem hit the Serb hard who failed to be as sharp as he was in the first half of the season which gave him six titles.
At the US Open too, he had doubts over his fitness but he did manage to reach the final where he succumbed to his nemesis Stan Wawrinka in four sets. In that final, he had received treatment on his toes which were bleeding.
It is widely expected that the World No. 1 will return to the Tour at the Shanghai Masters, beginning October 9. Djokovic is the defending champion there as well.
China Open still has Nadal, Murray, Kerber
The China Open – a combined ATP and WTA event – will still have some of the biggest stars participating in it. 2005 winner Rafael Nadal will be there along with the Wimbledon champion Andy Murray as well as Milos Raonic and Dominic Thiem. On the women’s side, the World No. 1 Angelique Kerber will be looking to get back to winning ways after a tough pre-quarter-final loss to Petra Kvitova in Wuhan.