BELGRADE – Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic was forced on Friday to withdraw from an exhibition tournament held in Abu Dhabi due to elbow pain.
At the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, Djokovic was expected to make his first appearance since July, when an elbow injury forced him to put an end to his 2017 season.
“Unfortunately, in the past few days I started to feel pain in the elbow and after several tests, my medical team has advised me not to risk anything, to withdraw from the tournament and to immediately continue with the therapies,” Djokovic said in a statement.
“I am very sad because I was eager to return to playing official matches. I enjoyed the practices and everything I did to get ready for the start of the season, including the tournament in Abu Dhabi, where I always enjoy playing,” he added.
Former world No.1 Djokovic was scheduled to play against Spaniard Bautista Agut in the semifinal.
“This might affect the start of the season and the tournament plan, but the decision will be made in the following days,” he added.
The 12-time Grand Slam champion was the favorite to clinch the title after Spain’s Rafael Nadal withdrew from the tournament.