Andy Murray vs Novak Djokovic wait continues as Brit withdraws due to illness
Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic will not do battle in a 37th career meeting after the British former world number one was forced to withdraw due to illness.
The two were set to meet for a place in the quarter-finals after Murray defeat Dominic Thiem and Denis Shapovalov while Djokovic overcame familiar opponent Gael Monfils in his first match.
But now, what was to be a first meeting since the 2017 Qatar Open final is off, leaving fans waiting yet longer to see the Murray-Djokovic rivalry renewed.
The Madrid Open announced on Twitter: “Unfortunately, Andy Murray is unable to take to the Manolo Santana Stadium due to illness.
“We wish you a speedy recovery!” They added, tagging the world number 78.
While the duo were set to open the day’s play on the main stadium court, another Brit in Dan Evans will now have that honour as he faces world number eight Andrey Rublev.
Unfortunately, Andy Murray is unable to take to the Manolo Santana Stadium due to illness 😔
We wish you a speedy recovery, @andy_murray! 😘
🏟️ Instead, Andrey Rublev and Daniel Evans will open the day’s play on centre court. pic.twitter.com/0QdLyh7qhl
— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) May 5, 2022
After Murray defeated Shapovalov in a match that went into the early hours of Wednesday morning, the 34-year-old tempered his chances against the admittedly less than full-powered Djokovic.
He said in his post-match interview: “In theory I should have no chance in the match.”
Murray reiterated their disparity in current status, given Djokovic is still world number one and he is playing with an artificial hip.
Despite the disappointment of going out in these circumstances, Murray has made rankings progress with his run in Madrid.
He will finish the week ranked at least 69th in the world according to the live ATP rankings, his first foray into the ATP top 70 since June 2018.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 3, 2022
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