Tennis: Novak Djokovic pulls out of Abu Dhabi exhibition, Australian Open participation in doubt

Novak Djokovic had targeted Abu Dhabi for his first match since his quarter-final loss at Wimbledon in July.
Novak Djokovic had targeted Abu Dhabi for his first match since his quarter-final loss at Wimbledon in July.PHOTO: REUTERS

ABU DHABI (AFP) - Former world No. 1 and 12-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic withdrew from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship on Friday (Dec 29), raising fresh doubts over his fitness.

The 30-year-old Serb had targeted Abu Dhabi for his first match since his quarter-final loss at Wimbledon in July this year.

Djokovic was scheduled to play Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in the semi-finals of the exhibition tournament.

But just hours before, Djokovic released a statement on his website announcing his intention to pull out.

It is not clear still if he will play the Qatar Open where he is top seed next week.

"I am terribly disappointed that I am forced to withdraw from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship," Djokovic said in the statement.

"Unfortunately, in the past few days, I started to feel pain in the elbow and after several tests, my medical team has advised me not to risk anything, to withdraw from the tournament and to immediately continue with the therapies."

He added: "Now I need to accept this situation and to wait for the results of the therapies in order to start playing tennis again and getting back to full rhythm. This might affect the start of the season and the tournament plan, but the decision will be made in the following days."