It’s official. Novak Djokovic will not be defending his China Open title next week in Beijing, the tournament announced today.
Djokovic, who won Beijing the last two years, got a last minute physical checkup and his ailing back was not in playing condition. Flight canceled, no trip to Beijing.
Of course just days ago we saw Novak in good health while playing soccer in the name of charity, so it will leave some to question the extent of the Serb’s injury. Especially so when you consider how much pain he was in two weeks ago in Davis Cup. And at the time he said he would need up to four weeks of recovery.
That said, it’s a fact the guy has endured a long, emotional, historic season (64-3) and while I normally would take a shot at Djokovic I’ll cut him slack for this one.
Sure, he probably shouldn’t have been running around the “football pitch” on Tuesday, but not playing Beijing and likely Shanghai is the right move, I think. It’s the Federer Way. That is proper scheduling and extended periods or rest and recovery to ensure a lengthy, fruitful career. (Novak still has some things to learn from the Swiss about completing matches!)
Speaking of injuries, Maria Sharapova may have suffered a significant one overnight in Tokyo. During her Wimbledon rematch with Petra Kvitova, Sharapova turned her left ankle in the first set and had to retire.
“I hit a serve and then landed awkwardly on my left ankle,” said Sharapova. “I felt a sharp pain and next thing I knew I was on the floor. It swelled up immediately and I knew there was no way I could continue.”
Sharapova was taken for an MRI and it sounds like she’ll also be withdrawing from Beijing. Had she won both Tokyo and Beijing she stood a chance of dethroning the fledgling Caroline Wozniacki for the No. 1 spot.
UPDATED: Facebook post from Djokovic
I am very sad to announce that I will not participate on China Open in Beijing next week. Because of my back injury, which is very particular, and restrains me from rotating my upper body in serve motion, i am not able to compete on the professional level. I am resting and doing a lot of therapies and trying to recover so I can be able to play remaining tournaments in this season. I have tried to hit couple of balls to test my body, but unfortunately, i still feel pain and therefore i cannot risk playing China Open next week. I apologize to all my fans and tennis lovers who bought tickets hoping to see me play. I am sad that I will not go to Beijing, I love that tournament and people who are so generous and kind to all my team. Special greetings to my fans who always wait to meet me in front of hotel after matches and always have special surprises for all my team. I will give my best to recover soon.
For all of those people who have doubts. Yes,I played football,and I had no problem with my injury there,but as soon as I started playing tennis and tried to serve,it just wasn’t recovered enough for Beijing. I am working on my fitness,but i need more time and therapy’s to feel 100% ready to compete!
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