LOOK BACK: Djokovic falls to Zverev in Tokyo

When Novak Djokovic begins his quest to complete a historic Calendar-Year Grand Slam at the US Open, the world No. 1 will do it without a tune-up event under his belt.

Western & Southern Open organizers confirmed early Monday evening that Djokovic will not travel to Cincinnati, joining Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka among the high-profile withdrawals at the 1000-level tournament.

“Dear fans, I wanted to share with you that I am taking a bit longer to recover and recuperate after quite a taxing journey from Australia to Tokyo. Sadly, that means I won’t be ready to compete in Cincinnati this year,” the Serbian’s statement read. “So I’ll turn my focus and attention to US Open and spend some more time with family. See you in New York soon!”


Fresh off winning a men’s record-tying 20th major title at Wimbledon, Djokovic headed to the Tokyo Olympics seeking an elusive gold medal. His bid for a Golden Slam looked promising until he saw a set and a break lead evaporate against Alexander Zverev in the semifinals. The 34-year-old went on to lose to the German, and was defeated the following day by Pablo Carreño Busta with a bronze medal on the line.

Citing multiple injuries and exhaustion, Djokovic later withdrew from his mixed doubles bronze medal match with Nina Stojanovic.

This marks just the second time in Djokovic's career that he's missed both portions of the Canada-Cincinnati double. In 2017, he cut his season short after Wimbledon to address an ongoing right elbow injury. A year later, the Belgrade native tasted victory for the first time in Cincinnati to become the first player to complete a career Golden Masters.

Djokovic’s most recent US Open triumph came three years ago, when he defeated 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro in the final. In 2019, he retired down two sets and 2-1 against Stan Wawrinka in the round of 16 with a left shoulder issue, and a year later, was defaulted in the same stage for accidentally striking a lineswoman in his first set against Carreño Busta. Last summer, he entered the New York major on the back of winning his second Western & Southern Open trophy, as the event was held in Queens as part of a doubleheader staged behind closed doors.