Unprecedented Move: Novak Djokovic Launches New Season Without Second Long Title Due to Madrid Withdrawal

Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the upcoming Madrid Open just four days before the main draw begins. The second clay-court Masters of 2024 will be held inside the Caja Magica, where Djokovic had initially signed up as the top seed.

The Madrid Open will officially kick off on April 24 and will operate as a two-week tournament, ending on May 5. It is an important pitstop on the road to Roland Garros. However, it’s not uncommon for the world number one to skip Madrid, a tournament he has won on three occasions in his career.

But given his poorest start to a season in recent years, it is slightly surprising. It is the second time he has withdrawn from a Masters 1000 this year (he also missed Miami). Unlike in Florida, he hasn’t provided any reasons for his absence.

What next for Djokovic after withdrawing from the 2024 Madrid Open?

Novak Djokovic details 15-year 'special relationship' with Melbourne tree -  The Japan Times

Djokovic’s withdrawal will make Jannik Sinner the top seed in a Masters tournament for the first time in his career. The Serbian star can only get competitive minutes in one more tournament before Roland Garros, the Italian Open in Rome.

Skipping Madrid in favor of Rome is a good omen of some sort for Djokovic. He’s won two of his three Roland Garros titles by electing to skip the Madrid Masters (2021 and 2023).

Djokovic’s modest start to 2024 has not yielded any titles so far. He has an 11-4 win-loss record, with three and half months of the season in the books. But it is not his longest title drought to kick off the year just yet. There have been two other occasions in which he went even longer.

Novak Djokovic equals record with 58th grand slam quarter-final | beIN  SPORTS

Since winning his first ATP title in Amersfoort, The Netherlands, in 2005, Djokovic’s longest title drought was in 2018, lasting six and half months. He ended the barren spell by defeating Kevin Anderson to win Wimbledon.

His second-longest title drought was in 2022 when he couldn’t play many events because he was unvaccinated against Covid-19. That year, he captured his first title of the season in Rome on May 15. So, having pulled out from Madrid, Djokovic’s current trophyless season will now eclipse 2022 as his second-longest. This year’s Rome final will be on May 19.

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