Djokovic, Wawrinka out of next week’s 500-point events

Novak Djokovic pulled out of the upcoming China Open earlier this week due to a lingering elbow injury. The world No. 1 has been dealing with arm problems dating back to his first-round Rio Olympics loss to Juan Martin Del Potro. He looked less than 100 percent at times during the U.S. Open but managed to reach the title match before succumbing to Stan Wawrinka in four sets.

Djokovic has triumphed in Beijing all six times he has played it, including four years in a row on the heels of victories in 2009 and 2010. The Serb, who missed the event in 2011, is a perfect 29-0 lifetime.

“I am extremely disappointed not to be able to compete at the China Open this year,” Djokovic noted. “I’m still recovering from my elbow injury and have been advised not to play until my condition improves. I will continue with my rehabilitation and hope to be able to return to the ATP Tour as soon as possible.”

He is expected to hold a press conference on Friday, when his status for the Shanghai Masters–which takes place the week after Beijing–should become clearer.

As for Wawrinka, he has withdrawn from next week’s Japan Open because of a back injury. The third-ranked Swiss, who lifted the Tokyo winner’s trophy last fall, followed up his U.S. Open title by finishing runner-up to Alexander Zverev on the indoor hard courts of St. Petersburg.
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With Wawrinka sidelined, Japan’s own Kei Nishikori will likely be the top seed ahead of an impressive list of contenders that also features Tomas Berdych, Marin Cilic, Gael Monfils, David Goffin, and Nick Kyrgios.

Even without Djokovic, the Beijing field remains a strong one. Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Milos Raonic, and Dominic Thiem are among those scheduled for action at the 500-point tournament.

7 Comments on Djokovic, Wawrinka out of next week’s 500-point events

  1. Nadal Nishikori Raonic are in a very tight race so their order of Nadal Nishikori Raonic could change. Every match important for those guys next week. Also sad about Stan not playing as he will lose the 500 points he gained last year from taking the title in Tokyo. Still can’t get passed next week thanks to his solid lead of over 1000 points ahead of Rafa but Rafa kei or Raonic could get closer to Stan. Right now I feel like kei is most likely to be number four after next week because he made the semis last year and as the top seed is the favorite for the title and could take it while Rafa will be top seed but has final points to defend and I’m unsure how he will do there. Now that I think of it, no one can really get super close to Stan in points though I’m unsure what Raonic did this time last year or if he even played in Beijing or Tokyo. I don’t think he did last year.

    • Well, this time of year you want to look at the race. The top 5 guys are all going to make the YEC: Djokovic, Murray, Wawrinka, Raonic and Nishikori. Assuming that none of them have a disastrous injury, that is. That leaves 3 spots up for grabs. Rafa’s currently on the bubble at 8th, but Cilic and Berdych are threatening. Cilic has been playing well lately so he’s a threat. Otoh, I don’t know how well Monfils and Thiem (currently at 6 and 7) will do in the big tournaments remaining. Rafa can play well this time of year, but he’ll need to stay healthy.

    • Two years ago I remember watching the final in Tokyo between him and Kei and he lost that in three tight sets. Also, last year the Canadian lost in Bejing first round to Troicki.

  2. I have the distinct impression WaWa’s withdrawal from a 500 event owes more than a little to strategic planning – there’s still a lot of tennis to be played between now and the end of the year.

    As Lucky says, Rafa badly needs the points if he is to make it to the O2.

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