No surprise, Djokovic out of Doha

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Had there been even a week to assess, treat and recover, perhaps Novak Djokovic might have had a shot at starting his season in Doha.

But the Qatar Exxon Mobil Open is this week, with a full 32-player draw (so no first-round byes).

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And so Djokovic, who withdrew from the exhibition in Abu Dhabi this weekend after he experienced more pain in his troublesome elbow, has pulled the plug.

Here’s what he said in a statement on his website.

“Unfortunately, the situation with the elbow has not changed for better since (Friday). I still feel the pain. Therefore, I will have to withdraw from ATP tournament in Doha.

“I am sorry that I will not be able to play in front of my fans here. I have great memories of this tournament and the matches I played, like the final against Andy from last year. The atmosphere at the stadium is always wonderful, the organization is on the highest level, and I will surely miss it a lot.

“However, after the thorough consultations with the medical team, we decided to keep up with the therapies and elbow treatments.

“Only when I’m 100 per cent ready to play, I will be able to come back. I hope it will be soon. I want to thank everyone for patience and understanding.”

The Australian Open begins in two weeks.

Djokovic is in a serious race against the clock, and seriously short of match play as well.

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