June 20, 2024
Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic during a match at the Monte Carlo Masters

Novak Djokovic has vowed to reduce the number of tournaments he competes in during the 2024 season and that is exactly what he is doing as he has withdrawn from another major event.

The world No 1 has confirmed he won’t play at next week’s Madrid Open and although the Italian Open, which gets underway on May 8 in Rome, remains on his calendar there are still major doubts over whether or not he will play at the final big event before Roland Garros.

It is the second consecutive year that Djokovic has opted to skip the Madrid tournament with the tennis great sticking to his guns in terms of playing a reduced schedule.
The 36-year-old has played in only four tournaments so far in 2024 as he started his season at the United Cup before taking part in the Australian Open, Indian Wells Open and Monte-Carlo Masters.

He skipped the Middle Eastern swing, the Miami Open and now the Madrid Open.
However, his new strategy has not yielded the results he was hoping for as he is yet to win a title this year as he is 11-4 this campaign having suffered losses in the quarter-final of the United Cup, semi-final at Melbourne Park, third round at Indian Wells and semi-final at Monte Carlo.

But the 24-time Grand Slam winner has made it clear that his biggest priorities in 2024 are the Paris Olympics followed by the three remaining majors namely the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.

His former coach Marian Vajda admitted recently in an interview with Ubitennis that Djokovic’s new “method” of only playing a handful of tournaments will be good for him in the long run.

“The calendar is too full, he has to make choices. The great motivation for him remains the Slams and the Olympics. So he has to find time to prepare, to train well, but he can’t think of putting the same concentration into the other tournaments,” he said.

“I think the real question is whether this new method will still be able to make him win. Because if he plays fewer tournaments, you may arrive less trained than those who have played more than you.”

The Italian Open is the last major event before the French Open gets underway on May 26. He has played only four matches so far on clay as he defeated Roman Safiullin, Lorenzo Musetti and Alex de Minaur in Monte Carlo before going down in three sets against Casper Ruud in the semi-final.

Despite his Madrid decision, Djokovic is assured of staying at No 1 until after the event as he has no points to defend and has a 1,330-point lead over Jannik Sinner in the Live Rankings with Alcaraz another 515 points adrift. Sinner also doesn’t have any points to defend in Madrid while Alcaraz is defending 1,000 points.

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