Djokovic Opts Out Of Mutua Madrid Open

Novak Djokovic (photo: Serbia Open)

MADRID/WASHINGTON, April 28, 2021 (by Michael Dickens)

On Wednesday, the Mutua Madrid Open confirmed what Spanish-language Marca reported on Tuesday: men’s World No. 1 Novak Djokovic will not play in this year’s ATP Masters 1000 Mutua Madrid Open.

In a tweet issued by the tournament, it quoted the 33-year-old three-time Madrid champion Djokovic as saying: “Sorry that I won’t be able to travel to Madrid this year and meet all my fans. It’s been two years already, quite a long time. Hope to see you all next year!”

Djokovic, who is off to a 12-2 start in 2021 – including a title at the Australian Open – won the Mutua Madrid Open in 2019, the last time the tournament was held. He’s a three-time Madrid champion, having also won in 2011 and 2016. Last week, Djokovic was upset in the semifinals of the Serbia Open in Belgrade by Aslan Karatsev of Russia, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.

Also, withdrawing from the men’s draw is World No. 13 David Goffin due to an adductor injury.

With Djokovic out in Madrid, it means that World No. 2 Rafael Nadal will be the top seed.

WTA 1000 Mutual Madrid Open: Qualifying concludes, main draw begins

Only four of the top 12 seeds in the WTA 1000 Mutua Madrid Open qualifying singles draw came through with consecutive victories to be promoted to the 64-player main draw. No. 1 Anastasija Sevastova, No. 2 Kristina Mladenovic, No. 3 Laura Siegemund and No. 11 Bernarda Pera are among those who survived the grueling two-day event.

From seeds 13 through 24, there were five who will advance: No. 14 Irina-Camelia Begu, No. 17 Ajla Tomljanovic, No. 18 Misaki Doi, No. 19 Tamara Zidansek and No 22 Nina Stojanovic. The only unseeded players to make it out of qualifying are Ana Bogdan, Vera Zvonareva and Kateryna Kozlova.

• Thursday’s order of play begins at 11 a.m. (Central European Time) on Manolo Santana Stadium with No. 7 seed and defending champion Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands facing 15-year-old, 901st-ranked Spanish wild card Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva, followed by three-time Madrid champion and No. 9 seed Petra Kvitova playing fellow Czech Marie Bouzkova, ranked 56th Then, World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty of Australia versus 43rd-ranked American Shelby Rogers and finishing with No. 10 seed Garbiñe Muguruza of Spain against No. 51 Sloane Stephens of the United States.

There are a total of 16 singles and four doubles matches spread across five courts on the opening-day schedule.

Thursday’s WTA 1000 Madrid Open order of play

Back on home soil

Spain’s top three women’s players – Garbiñe Muguruza, Sara Sorribes Tormo and Paula Badosa – are all part of the WTA 1000 Mutua Madrid Open main draw.

Anderson, Cilic through to Estoril quarterfinals

Unseeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa needed six match points to finally win his second-round match over Spanish lucky loser Roberto Carballes Baena Wednesday afternoon. His resilience paid off nicely in a 6-3, 7-6 (4) win that took one hour and 49 minutes. Anderson served 12 aces and won 79 percent of his first-serve points to advance against No. 6 seed Marin Cilic of Croatia. Cilic, like Anderson, a former Top 5 player, endured a rollercoaster ride to the finish in beating 331st-ranked Portuguese qualifier Nuno Borges, 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-4, in two hours and 23 minutes. It was Cilic’s second straight three-set win.

“Obviously, towards the end it was a little bit tough,” Anderson admitted during his on-court interview after the match, in describing not being able to close out the match earlier than he did. He was unable to convert any of the five match points he had serving at 5-4 in the 10th game and was forced to recover from 2-4 down in the second-set tie break. “I gave away a few match points, but I’ll take the positives in how I was able to regroup during something that was difficult, to reset and still close it out. I’ll look at this [victory] in a positive way. …

“I really enjoy playing on the clay. I did a pretty good clay pre-season just before coming over here. This is my first event and, so far, [played] two really good matches. I’d like to keep it going. It’s been a tough season so far. Each step, I keep on building on it and today was a good day.”

Cilic, who is in pursuit of his 19th ATP Tour title, endured two rain delays totaling one hour and 18 minutes. He said after his victory over Borges: “It’s important for me mentally to win these kinds of matches, losing [the] first set and coming back.It’s a small win for me. Hopefully I get better day by day.”

Also reaching the quarterfinals were No. 3 seed Ugo Humbert of France and No. 8 seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina of Spain. Umbert defeated No. 94 Marco Cecchinato of Italy, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, and Davidovich Fokina advanced over No. 51 Jeremy Chardy of France, 6-1, 6-2.

The Way Back Machine: Bournemouth, April 1968

On April 28, 1968 Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall played in the first Open era tournament in Bournemouth. Rosewall won the final, 3-6, 6-2, 6-0, 6-3, plus a $2,400 prize check. Laver won the doubles with Roy Emerson.

What they’re saying

Spain’s Paula Badosa on playing in her home country: “Playing at home is different. It’s a different kind of tension. You really want to do well, for your people to see you do well. Apart from motivating you, it’s a different pressure to other weeks. You have to accept it. I’m really excited to be here and can’t wait to compete here again.”

The 62nd-ranked Badosa, who received a wild card into the WTA 1000 Mutua Madrid Open main draw, will face No. 39 Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic in the first round.

What they’re telling Tennis TourTalk

During Wednesday’s WTA Media Day for the Mutua Madrid Open, Tennis TourTalk asked both World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty, who is the top seed, and World No. 5 Elina Svitolina, who is seeded fourth, about the challenge of a quick turnaround – resetting – from deep runs for both in Stuttgart, where Barty won the title and Svitolina reached the semifinals before losing to Barty.

• Barty: “It’s not difficult in a way to reset or kind of know it’s a clean slate. Obviously, at times, preparation can be quite short, which is what we face here. The conditions here are very different to what they were in Stuttgart. There will be an adjustment period throughout my first match and that’s okay. We just accept that and we do the best that we can. We know we’ve played in these conditions at this tournament before. Knowing you’re comfortable is okay. You have just to allow yourself to play and get on with it.”

• Svitolina: “I wouldn’t say it’s tough because when you have some good matches under your best – especially on different surfaces – it’s not a bad thing. It’s always nice to play big tournaments because you have a big motivation [to do well]. I’m happy to be here and I don’t think about the past.”

What they’re podcasting

The latest Behind The Racquet podcast with Mike Cation and Noah Rubin takes a look back at the recent ATP Challenger Tour events in Orlando and Tallahassee, both won by American Jenson Brooksby.

What they’re sharing on social media

Roger Federer / Back in Bern

WTA / The sights and sounds of Kader Nouni


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Women’s Tennis Association (@wta)