Tennis ace and world No. 1 Novak Djokovic will not be competing in this year’s edition of the Madrid Open, according to reports in Serbian media.

It was expected that the Serb, fresh from his Australian Open triumph in February, would compete in the clay-court Masters 1000 event, which was called off last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But the winner of 18 Grand Slam titles, only two behind the joint record holders Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Spain’s Rafael Nadal with 20 Slam titles each, has decided to skip the tournament from May 2-9 where he is the defending champion.

The 33-year-old has won the Madrid Open title thrice with the last triumph coming in 2019 where he defeated Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

ad Djokovic not pulled out, he would have been defending 500 points from his 2019 result — half of the usual total of 1000 for a Masters series title — due to Covid-adjusted ‘Best-of’ ATP ranking system.

The Serbian has also pulled out of the Miami Open Masters 1000 tournament, currently underway. Djokovic had last featured in the Australian Open in February, where he crushed Daniil Medvedev for the title.

Djokovic’s pull-out means that his clay-court schedule before the French Open had got considerably shortened, with the Serb only expected to play the Monte Carlo Masters, the Serbia Open ATP 250 in Belgrade and the Rome Masters.