Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

Novak Djokovic hit by recurrence of right arm injury

Novak Djokovic has been hit by a right arm injury in the build-up to the French Open.

Story highlights

  • Novak Djokovic forced out of Madrid Open with injury
  • Right arm problem flares up again
  • Injury first hit Djokovic at Monte Carlo Masters
  • Former British No.1 Elena Baltacha dies of liver cancer

Novak Djokovic's preparations for the French Open later this month have suffered a worrying setback as the world number two was forced to withdraw from this week's Madrid Open.

Djokovic has suffered a recurrence of the right arm injury which hindered him at the Monte Carlo Masters three weeks ago, but was apparently healed. He is still hoping to be fit for the Rome Masters which starts next Sunday.

"I am very sorry for the Madrid tournament and all the Spanish fans to have to pull out of the Mutua Madrid Open," said Djokovic told the official ATP Tour website Sunday.

Read: Djokovic set to be a father

"I did everything possible in order to play in Madrid, which is one of the biggest events of the year, but unfortunately my right arm injury has flared up again.

    Just Watched

    Tennis legends' surprising comebacks

Tennis legends' surprising comebacks 01:41
PLAY VIDEO

    Just Watched

    Djokovic: Anti-doping system not working

Djokovic: Anti-doping system not working 02:54
PLAY VIDEO

    Just Watched

    Who will be the tennis ace of 2014?

Who will be the tennis ace of 2014? 04:52
PLAY VIDEO

"Now I will take some time to recover and heal my injury, hoping I will be ready for Rome. I look forward to returning to Madrid next year."

    The Serbian won in Madrid three years ago during his triumphant 2011 season and was looking for a repeat at Caja Magica in the Spanish capital.

    His absence may pave the way for world number Rafael Nadal to make a successful defense of his Madrid title but he has also been far from dominant in recent weeks.

    Read: Djokovic loses to Federer in Monte Carlo

    Defeats to fellow Spaniards David Ferrer and Nicolas Almagro in Monte Carlo and Barcelona were unexpected, but Nadal is shrugging them off.

    "I've already said it several times. I didn't try to win Monte Carlo 12 times or Barcelona 12 times. Maybe that isn't normal. This is the reality of the situation," he said ahead of the Madrid tournament.

    "Maybe it's normal to lose three times in the quarterfinals. Maybe what's not normal is what happened during the past nine years."

    Read: Nadal goes out in Barcelona

    Nadal beat Monte Carlo winner Stanislas Wawrinka in last year's final and believes he can go all the way again this year.

    "I'm here to fight and to try to play even better," said Nadal.

    "I don't think I have to change many things. I think I can change very small things, and the change can be quite drastic and quite big. That's what I'm working on right now. "

    Meanwhile in the WTA event in Madrid, Maria Sharapova continued her superb recent form as she routed Klara Koukalova in the first round.

    Sharapova, who won her 30th WTA Tour title in such impressive style in Stuttgart last week, beat Koukalova 6-1 6-2.

    In the women's doubles tournament, Martina Hingis rolled back the years again as she paired with Germany's Sabine Lisicki to beat seventh seeds Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Rodionova in a first round clash.

    They were a set then 4-1 down in the match tie-break before going through 3-6 6-2 10-6 victory.

    Read: Sharapova hat-trick in Stuttgart

    But there was sad news released late on Sunday, with the announcement that former top 50 WTA player and British No.1 Elena Baltacha has died aged 30.

    Baltacha was diagnosed with liver cancer in January, just two months after retiring from tennis and only weeks after she married her long-time coach Nino Severino. "We are heartbroken beyond words," Severino said in a statement released by her family.

    Baltacha was the daughter of former football star Sergei Baltacha, who starred for Ipswich in the English top-flight after playing for the old Soviet Union.

    Read: Soviet football star who tore down barriers

      Tennis

    • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

      Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
    • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

      The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
    • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

      His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
    • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

      Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
    • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

      Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
    • "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
    • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

      It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
    • Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.