Djokovic Officially Pulls Out Of Beijing; Sharapova Injures Ankle In Tokyo
by Sean Randall | September 29th, 2011, 10:27 am
  • 48 Comments

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!


Also Check Out:
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Kim Clijsters “Severely” Injures Ankle, French Open Uncertain
Kim Clijsters Withdraws From US Open Title Defense
Wozniacki Can Take No. 1 This Week in Beijing: Preview
Nadal, Murray Collide For Tokyo Title; Berdych Battles Cilic In Beijing

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48 Comments for Djokovic Officially Pulls Out Of Beijing; Sharapova Injures Ankle In Tokyo

jane Says:

Good for Nole & his team. I hope he fully recovers now from the injury. Playing tennis this soon – esp serving, reaching up, and or hitting forehands – could’ve easily reaggravated a partial intercostal muscle tear (which I believe he has!).

Sad to hear about Sharapova’s injury though. Get well Masha.


jane Says:

It would be great to have a thread for on-going tournaments. Go Muzza!


dari Says:

Saw a YouTube of that ankle roll and pics with immediate swelling. Hope she heals up fast and completely.
Can you believe she is #2?!?!
Speaking of Mr muzz, here is an extended interview with Andy at Thai open.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CEjSicxXRc&feature=youtube_gdata_player
More of a personality piece than about tennis. I learned a few new things ;)


John Wiederholt Says:

Come on. Athletes at Djokovic’s level can’t just sit in a chair even when they’re injured. Soccer is a very different sport than tennis. If he’d been serving volleyballs all afternoon it would be different. Give the lad a break.


Humble Rafa Says:

Lads don’t need breaks. Go ahead and make him play.


rogerafa Says:

Thanks for cutting him some slack. The back issue is probably a minor concern but he has got to be mentally and emotionally exhausted. He deserves to be given a break both literally and figuratively.


El Flaco Says:

It’s going to be interesting to watch the competition for the last 3 spots for the WTF.


dari Says:

I agree el flaco! With soda ill with mono could be an unexpected spot either from his withdrawal from the wtf or his slipping from lack of play. Has Tsonga ever made it?


dari Says:

Ok, ’08. Didn’t make it out of RR musta missed him


Milos Says:

Letter from Djokovic (from official website):

Dear All,

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.

Lots of love,
Novak


jane Says:

Milos, thanks for posting Nole’s letter: very sweet. :)


jane Says:

Aww, poor Maria looks choked walking off court. And “ouch!” to the ankle.


dari Says:

RT @DjokerNole For all of those people who have doubts. Yes,I played football,and I had no problem with my injury there,but as soon… http://t.co/9cmOnCRx
I am surprised he even fed into it by giving critics a response, but I guess he is covering his bases. Future note, he ahoykd not spend any time replying to doubters


jane Says:

^dari, I get the sense that he is a person who truly *cares*, sometimes too much perhaps. But if people write articles that say “what back injury?” or “Novak’s ‘back’ playing soccer” etc, then his integrity is questioned in the press, directly, and he probably feels the desire to defend himself. Certainly I can’t blame him for that; who wouldn’t want to? On the other hand, you’re probably 100% right that he is wasting his time – some people wouldn’t believe his injury is real even if they saw the MRI with their own eyes.


dari Says:

You said it right, Jane. And it means more coming from a true novak fan that you think he sometimes cares too much. Oh well, the gesture seemed sincere. The more attention he gets and the more time he spends at number one, he will learn to tune things ouy. These guys are human, we forget!
In closing, best recovery to him and fed, hope rafa is enjoying his time in mallorca and go muzz in Thailand. JMdP, where are you?
I think that about covers it!


Swiss Maestro Says:

dari & jane :

please dont act like novak is mr. saint. has any player abused MTO’s like djokovic? add to it his famous quote about being in control of a match in which he retired. 2 sets down. a break down. to nadal. on clay. in RG.

he has built an image of suspicious physical problems. it is going to take a lot of convincing to overcome that. just when you thought he has learnt his lessons, he retired from 2 matches this year. he has 3 slams to defend his suspicious and unsportsmanlike behaviour on-court but he will be ripped by the media [like he was before this year] if he keeps this retirement rate up.


WmsSisRock Says:

Hoping Nole recovers soon and gets back to what he is doing best. Good to hear he is taking some time from tennis; mentally, emotionally as well as physically he’s got to be exhausted. This Fed and Rafa fan has to admit to enjoying his amazing success. Can’t wait for YEC!
http://www.wmssisrock.wordpress.com


mat4 Says:

Hello, Jane. Glad you’re here.

I finally found what was one of the important reasons for the change in the Rafa-Nole relationship. Nole was not satisfied with the job his PR was doing and asked him to chose during that exhibition in Columbia. Since both Rafa and Nole had the same PR (and who knows what else), Rafa took it badly.

Of course, after that, everything started to bother Nadal – the way Djoko celebrated his victory in Madrid, the way Nole’s fans celebrated his Wimby title…

Sometimes we forget how young they are. Though, even at my age, men are seldom mature (and I don’t believe I am mature myself). I am certain, from a comment made recently, that Nole regrets this change of attitude toward him.

On fuzzyyellosballs (.com) you can find a lot of good analysis of Nole’s way of playing Rafa and Fed. I believe you have probably already seen them.


mat4 Says:

@Swiss Maestro:

Glad you mentioned the “in control” sentence.

I am not quite certain, but if you ask Duro, Kricket or Milos, they would explain to you that in their language, to be “in control” signifies “making the game, having the initiative”, not “leading, winning”.

In fact, since I remember that match, Djokovic played very aggressively. He probably wanted to say that.

Sometimes, when we listen Djokovic, we forget that his knowledge of english is far from perfect (although it’s much better than mine). I taught American students a few times in summer camps, and all I can say is that their speaking of French was far from Djokovic’s English.

About the MTO: I think Djokovic takes so many MTOs because he has a lot of difficulties to accept defeat. That denial of defeat made of him a great champion, on the other side. Then, I see very well why you don’t like him, but just like I said, everybody seems to forget how young he is, and what really matters: his tennis.


Swiss Maestro Says:

@mat4 :

“(and I don’t believe I am mature myself).”

i wish most other novak fans were atleast as mature as you.


dari Says:

SM, I’m not calling him a saint, he is far from it and has a horrible injury history. I’ve got to cut him some slack for the way he has played tennis though this year, I cannot deny the tennis, SM!
I’ve even loosened up on rafa after Wimbledon delpo episode, simply because I’ve stopped believing that these guys are good enough actors/ would put the energy into pretending to be so hurt.
I’m not happy with novak cincy retire, masters final, three games left to play, stick it out, but really I just don’t care as much anymore. My 30 year old favorite doesn’t retire and rarely takes an MTO, so let these young guys do what they do! One of my other faves doesn’t retire that much, Murray and my #3 delpo has a dozen! I think I’m just giving up


grendel Says:

mat4

I do remember that famous interview with Djokovic after he’d retired against Nadal. It was the first time I’d ever seen Djokovic, or even heard of him. In the circumstances,it was really pretty funny. You had the feeling Djokovic himself thought it was a BIT funny – I thought I detected a twinkle as he came out with this outrageous stuff.

But mostly, I felt rather cheered. Here was a kid who was apparently not particularly afraid of Nadal, and thought it perfectly reasonable to envisage the possibility of beating him – and this,too,at a time when Nadal was considered uber-invincible on clay. Well, we have since learnt that such an ambition was by no means preposterous. Djokovic has very much put his money where his mouth was, and best of luck to him! It’s taken him a while – but, the seeds were always there for those with eyes to see (not mine, b.t.w.).

Incidentally, never mind the Serbian interpretation of “control” – I believe, so far as tennis is concerned, the same interpretation you give is correct in English. It used to confuse me, such and such a player was said to be in control of a rally, a game etc – and yet would lose rally, game etc. I since learnt that control really meant dictating the course of the rally. In those days, of course, Nadal was primarily a great counter-puncher. In short, he was often happy to let his opponent dictate play (and you still see residues of this philosophy in his play) before unleashing a lethal counter move. It is easy to see how the novice Djokovic could have been mislead – it was his first encounter with Nadal.


jane Says:

mat4, I’ve never heard of that website, so thanks for the reference – will have a look. Also, it was great to hear your explanation for the infamous “in control” comment. That was 5 and a half years ago in 2006 I believe? So I would imagine Nole’s english was even worse then and it seems plausible that he meant he was, as you say, taking the initiative/being aggressive. As for the Rafole PR fiasco, well, whatever. Maybe it was a mistake by Nole? If so, all you can say is live and learn, or “To err is human…”

SM, I said another thread that, like dari, I wish Nole would’ve finished the Cincy final, even if he had to sit out the rain delay and/or take a bagel. No one said he is a “saint” – not dari nor I. I happen to think he is a honest & sensitive (maybe overly so, sometimes) guy, but not perfect or saintly. Who freaking is? AND, I also believe that his intercostal muscle is partially torn; it makes sense, as his most laborious shot is his serve (he arches his back A LOT) and if his shoulder was bothering him, & then his mid back, the intercostal is right between there (in the ribs) – so it’s all related/interconnected. I’ve had back flare ups, and they do migrate from neck to lower back etc sometimes, esp. if not rested. But only severe lower back problems inhibited my lower body movement (i.e., jogging,walking,dancing).


Swiss Maestro Says:

mat4:

“Then, I see very well why you don’t like him, but just like I said, everybody seems to forget how young he is, and what really matters: his tennis.”

i agree he is young and what matters is the tennis, in which case novak fans should not keep jumping on federer for thinking novak was lucky to have pulled off a clean return winner off fed’s serve. you cannot have it both ways.

i have zero tolerance for most of the jokers who call themselves novak fans. [ jane was the only sensible one i saw on this board and now you seem to be not too blinded by novak]

dari :

i think the atp needs to regulate these MTOs. it has become a joke. rafa, novak, delpo and a bunch of other players abusing them. i dont remember borg, sampras, edberg or agassi making such blatant misuse of this. i can see women, resorting to all these dramas and i am okay with that but it is sad to see atp deteriorate into a joke with such charades. as mat4 said “it should be about the tennis”.


Swiss Maestro Says:

jane :

most tennis players (even at the college level) develop back issues. believe me, you can still finish a match. i have done it on a couple of occasions.

you did not call djokovic saintly, but djokovic has invited this suspicion on himself. how can anyone with a credible intercoastal tear make the kind of moves djokovic was making in that football game? surely that is not resting, no? why do you blame the critics for pointing that out. that is a very valid point. you make it sound like the media is making a false allegation and djokovic should not take it to heart.

i would say if djokovic really is sensitive to this, he should start by finishing up matches and not retiring in high-profile matches. i mean business end of GS/MS or davis cup live rubbers.


nadalista Says:

mat4 Says:
“……………… Rafa took it badly.”

Is this your opinion, or fact based on what Nole, Rafa or either of their camps told you? Or you read it off some website, in which case, link please? Thanks.


grendel Says:

” novak fans should not keep jumping on federer for thinking novak was lucky to have pulled off a clean return winner off fed’s serve.”

Oh, come on. Federer is only human and he was – quite understandably – damned grouchy about the incident. Who wouldn’t be?

In point of fact to simply dismiss the shot as lucky – whilst only normal for the person at the receiving end of this luck, immediately after the match too and before he has had time to properly reflect – is inaccurate.

Federer paid the penalty for caution – he held back on his serve in a way he never used to in these circumstances, there is no doubt nerves got to him. Djokovic, like all great champions, is an opportunist – that is, he reacts instinctively to a weakness, and he made exactly the right response. It was very bold – it had to be in the desperate circumstances. Sure it had an element of luck (as for example does an ace – nothing unrespectable in sporting terms about luck), but above all it had a huge degree of skill. And it absolutely turned the tide. Djokovic displayed a degree of ruthlesness worthy of Federer himself. The wheel turns. Such is life.


mat4 Says:

@Nadalista:

I found it in the comments under “Jeux décisif”, yahoo sport fr.


Polo Says:

Medical time outs, since it leaves room for abuse, should be gotten rid of completely. If a player gets injured, he either retires or continues to play but there should be no interruption of play. Is there another sport as sissy as tennis that uses medical time outs?


mat4 Says:

@sw:

I have the same attitude toward Federer. I am much older than both. Sometimes I react when I hear the baseless adjective “classy”. I agree that Roger’s game is classy, but Rafa’s game is classy too, JWT is pure elegance, and Nole backhand is sublime. What they do outside the tennis… come on, they are just spoiled kids.

I feel that I am the fan of one player only, or one type of tennis. It started with Connors, 36 years ago, and since then, I have always liked players that seems to play a similar game: Agassi, Djokovic, Safin (!? I can’t be serious).


grendel Says:

Polo, I have a lot of sympathy for your position, but unfortunately, like most things in life, it’s not quite black and white.

For what about the player who is genuinely seeking medical attention? I don’t mean from his point of view (you might want to say – too bad for him)- but from the point of view of the spectators. For if he can be patched up sufficiently to generate further competitive tennis, clearly this is in the interests of those watching.

You have, then, to balance two conflicting positions, each with merit: keep the rule, because it is sometimes in the interests of everybody, but accept that this same rule will frequently be abused. And: get rid of the rule, and thereby eliminate the abuse but also, on occasion, deprive people of legitimate pleasure.


Skeezerweezer Says:

@Polo

Totally agree. No MTO’s. What other sport gives you a time out for a “massage”?Besides, they get time on every changeover to “recover” from any temporary ailments, WTF?


Skeezerweezer Says:

grendel,

My imo think you would see actually less “quitters”, and actually more “play”.


Kimberly Says:

The difference between tennis and the need for MTOs and other sports is you have a back-up in most team sports to take over. For example FSU’s quarter back gets hurt in the oklahoma game, the back up QB (a freshman unfortunately) goes in. THen on the sideline treatment is given to the injured with hope he can return to the game (he didn’t). But in many sports, a player will go out, get treatment and return. The difference is no interuption as the game continues with a different player in his spot.

In the middle of a tennis match you can’t substitute players so unless the issue is cured/alleviated the match is over and there is nothing to see. But of course, what constitutes an issue. The rule is flagrantly abused clearly.


mat4 Says:

About the MTOs, revisited:

We are making to much noise about it. Something else is in question.

Jimmy Connors was a great champion, but at 32 he stopped winning slams, then he ceased winning other tournaments, but I still liked him, and it was, for me, always a pleasure to watch him. With the new racquets he even improved his game.

But, for me, it was clear that JMac was better, Lendl was better, then others were better. I liked them too, but Connors remained my favorite player.

So, Fed fans, Rafa fans: this year, Nole was better. Give him what is due. Next year it will maybe change, and with time passing by, a new player will emerge, then others, who will be better that both Novak and Roger. I just hope you will still root for your fav because he gaved so much and he certainly deserve it. I know I will still be rooting for Nole.


Dory Says:

Why does the article have to say nasty things like “we doubt” about Novak? You play soccer with your legs, your back muscles are not as much as work during running as they are when serving or hitting a forehand. Is that too difficult for the dodo brains to understand?


Lou Says:

I think Novaks year was really great and one of the reason why he was able to win was keeping his calm during important moments:
Here is another interesting article:Anger: Difference between Good (McEnroe,Murray) & Great (Federer,Nadal,Djokovc) http://bit.ly/paCkWk


Brando Says:

Totally agree with polo and skeez- MTO should be done with, especially when it is clearly getting abused by some. As for the whole djokovic thing- simply put the man says he is injured, let’s give him the benefit of doubt here. BUT he needs to stop racking up these retirements- 2 already in his last 3 tourny’s ( counting Davis cup here). Paint it however you won’t but there is no doubt that it is a bad look for him.


tennis coach Says:

I haven’t heard so many ridiculous comments in a while. All sports have MTO and rightly so. These players are not gladiators and to call them sissy is out of line. It would be unethical and inhumane not to allow MTO in tennis and other sports. Even boxing and other fighting sports for example have MTO. As far as I am concerned I do not think that players are abusing MTO. Some are using more than the others and that is because of the style of tennis they are playing, physical vs non-physical etc


dari Says:

Grendel said
” For if he can be patched up sufficiently to generate further competitive tennis, clearly this is in the interests of those watching.”
Hear,hear, Grendel!
In that ideal I am all for the MTO, especially when the injury occurs on court, like a Murray ankle roll at FO, taped it up and kept along. Without that MTO, we wouldn’t have had any more tennis.
Impossible to tell what’s sustained in the match and whats old, so regulation besides number, timing, and type of treatment seem unlikely.


jane Says:

I agree with grendel. It would be a mistake to do away with the MTO altogether. Maybe they could add caveats to regulate it more, but getting rid of it entirely seems implausible and unnecessary.

Maybe the umpires just need to be more proactive – period. Now they don’t even have to overrule on line calls with the challenge system. So they could be a little more strict with other aspects and rules. Why not? They sit up there; they see what’s happening at close range; they tour around and know the players and have seen all kinds of situations. Let them take on more responsibility since Hawkeye has alleviated them of some, somewhat.


Umer Says:

I am the saddest Djokovic fan to hear this.


Polo Says:

To tennis coach: golf, swimming, diving, track and field, archery, skiing, skateboarding, shooting. I could name many more individual sports that have no MTOs (but could name zero other than tennis that allows MTOs). When it is your turn to play and could not do it for whatever excuse, sorry but you are out. You don’t get a nice relaxing massage. You go home! For goodness sake, even figure skating does not allow medical time outs!


tennis coach Says:

Polo, you listed really nice examples, but fogot to mention hunting, fishing, moon walking etc.


Polo Says:

Thanks tennis coach, I believe you got the message now as to why this MTO makes tennis such a sissy sport.

By the way, moonwalking is not a sport. You did not really have to equate it with tennis. Try to be more accurate and factual next time.


Polo Says:

By the way, tennis coach, you still have not named a single individual sport that uses medical time outs other than tennis. Please, enlighten me.


dusan Says:

I like the cimment above about how young are those guys-they behave somethimes like teenagers, specially Novak (which I’m big fan).Still, all those guys are great players and like that they are very diferent-before Nadal and Federer use to be very proffesional, humble (specially Nadal-comes like very nice bloke )and always saying right thing.Djokovic been diffrent, and somethimes arogant or emotional is nice addition ( same as McEnroe was with his persona in times of Bjorg and Connors ).Lets enjoy tennis because we are in great era at the moment…

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