The Mutua Madrid Open has already experienced several top name withdrawals including Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Bianca Andreescu, Stanislas Wawrinka and Gael Monfils.
And top-ranked Novak Djokovic is now joining them. After reports Tuesday stated the Serbian would not play, the combined event confirmed Djokovic had pulled out on Twitter.
"Sorry that I won’t be able to travel to Madrid this year and meet all my fans,” Djokovic said in a statement posted on the tournament's Twitter account. “It’s been two years already, quite a long time. Hope to see you all next year!”
Following a three-set defeat to Aslan Karatsev in the semifinals of Belgrade, Djokovic had been unsure about whether he would play next week in Madrid. "I don't know," he told press at the time. As of Wednesday, the holder of a record 36 Masters 1000 titles is still entered in Rome, where he is the defending champion.
World No. 4 Dominic Thiem, who has not played since Dubai, is expected to return at Madrid, as are No. 3 Daniil Medvedev, No. 17 Grigor Dimitrov and No. 52 Richard Gasquet.
Home favorite Rafael Nadal, who leapfrogged Medvedev in returning to world No. 2 this week, becomes the top seed.