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Novak pulls out of Madrid Open

Madrid: Novak Djokovic has not managed to shake off an arm injury and has been forced to pull out of this week’s Madrid Open, the Serbian world No. 2 said on Sunday.

Djokovic, who was hampered by the injury, thought to be his right wrist, at last month’s Monte Carlo Masters where he lost to Roger Federer in the semi-finals, said he hoped to be back for the Rome Masters starting next Sunday.

“I am very sorry for the Madrid tournament and all the Spanish fans to have to pull out,” Djokovic said.

“I did everything possible in order to play in Madrid, which is one of the biggest events of the year, but unfortunately my right arm injury has flared up again,” he added.

“Now I will take some time to recover and heal my injury, hoping I will be ready for Rome. I look forward to returning to Madrid next year.”

Djokovic would have had a chance of toppling Rafael Nadal from the No. 1 spot at the clay event in the Spanish capital.

If Spaniard Nadal, who won in Madrid last year, had failed to reach the quarter finals and Djokovic had triumphed in the final the Serb would have overtaken him at the top of the rankings for the first time since October.

Nadal has been well below his scintillating best on his favoured clay in recent weeks, losing in the quarters at Monte Carlo and Barcelona to compatriots David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro respectively.

“When you lose, you have a hard moment, you have more doubts,” Nadal said at a news conference on Sunday. “I’m here to fight and to try to play even better,” added the 27-year-old.

Meanwhile, in women’s singles, Maria Sharapova thrashed Klara Koukalova 6-1, 6-2 to ease into the second round. In another match, Ana Ivanovic overcame Madison Keys 6-1, 7-6 (4). (Reuters)