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Emotional toll too much for Djokovic

April 26, 2012 -- Updated 1329 GMT (2129 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Devastated Novak Djokovic pulls out of hometown Serbia Open after grandfather's death
  • Reigning champ admits he is too emotionally drained to compete in family-run event
  • Serbia Open "most cherished" title after launch by Djokovic family in 2009
  • Emerges fresh from brutal defeat to Rafael Nadal at Monte Carlo Masters last week

(CNN) -- Novak Djokovic has pulled out of the hometown tennis tournament run by his family, following the devastating death of his grandfather.

The world No. 1 said he was too emotionally drained to defend his Serbia Open title next week after losing his grandfather Vladimir last Thursday.

The 24-year-old, who has won two out of the three tournaments held in Belgrade, made the difficult decision not to defend his title after consulting with family.

"I will take some time, try to restore my emotional energy," he said.

"This is certainly one of the toughest decisions in my career, but it is impossible for me to play in the next few days and to think about tennis, when there are some other things in my head."

Djokovic: My late grandfather is with me in spirit

Rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal embrace during the final of the Australian Open in Melbourne on January 30 this year. The match was the longest in grand slam history at five hours and 53 minutes. Djokovic won 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 7-5.
Rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal embrace during the final of the Australian Open in Melbourne on January 30 this year. The match was the longest in grand slam history at five hours and 53 minutes. Djokovic won 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 7-5.
Record-breaking rivals
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The Nadal and Djokovic rivalry The Nadal and Djokovic rivalry
Spearheading Serbia's Fed Cup semifinal match against Russia is 24-year-old Ana Ivanovic. The former world No.1 has enjoyed a recent return to form, rising seven places since the end of 2011 to be ranked 15th in the world. Spearheading Serbia's Fed Cup semifinal match against Russia is 24-year-old Ana Ivanovic. The former world No.1 has enjoyed a recent return to form, rising seven places since the end of 2011 to be ranked 15th in the world.
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The clay-court tournament, to be held from April 30 to May 6, was founded by Djokovic's family in 2009.

They purchased the ATP Tour license from the Dutch Open and worked hard to gain government support for the country's first professional tennis tournament, which is run by Djokovic's uncle Goran.

Novak won the Belgrade event in its opening year and says on his website it is the most cherished title in a stellar career that now includes five grand slam wins.

He will take a breather from competing for the first time since hearing the news of his grandfather's death, having suffered a brutal straight-sets defeat to Rafael Nadal in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters on Sunday.

The Spaniard claimed his eighth straight title at the tournament, ending a run of seven defeats in finals to the man who replaced him at the top of the world rankings, including January's record-breaking six-hour epic at the Australian Open.

Djokovic is expected to defend his title at the Madrid Open next month ahead of the second grand slam of the season in Paris.

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