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Defending champion Novak Djokovic has revealed he will not play in the Madrid Open scheduled to start next week. The world number one on Wednesday announced he will not take his place in the draw at the Caja Magica. Djokovic won the title for a third time two years ago by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final. The star player has played four  tournaments this year, with one being the Australian Open. Djokovic suffered a shock defeat to Aslan Karatsev in the semi-finals of the Serbia Open on home soil last week and the 18-time grand slam champion will not be adding to his list of honours in Madrid.

He stated: "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!"

The Madrid Open was not staged last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the tournament starts this week, with the women’s main draw beginning on Thursday and the men’s tournament on Sunday.

However, Djokovic is expected to play in Rome and Belgrade as he prepares for next month’s French Open. He will be hoping to deny Rafael Nadal a 13th title while looking to add to his own single success in Paris in 2016. Djokovic has won 12 times and been beaten twice this season, claiming a ninth Australian Open crown in February.