Andy Murray had already beaten former Grand Slam champion Dominic Thiem and world No. 16 Denis Shapovalov in a surprise run to the third round at the Madrid Open, but ahead of his round-of-16 match against Novak Djokovic he has had to pull out of the Masters tournament due to a case of food poisoning. Britain’s Dan Evans will open play against Andrey Rublev on centre court instead.
Andy Murray has withdrawn from the Madrid Open ahead of his last-16 match against Novak Djokovic on Thursday due to food poisoning.
The three-time Grand Slam winner was set for his first meeting against the world No. 1 since 2017, but tournament organisers have confirmed it will not go ahead.
“Unfortunately, Andy Murray is unable to take to the Manolo Santana Stadium due to illness,” read a statement on the Madrid Open Twitter account.
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
Tournament director Feliciano Lopez told the Daily Mail: “I had a message yesterday from Andy that he was not feeling well.
“He had food poisoning, it sounds like he is feeling better this morning but is still not well enough to go on the court.”
Murray has a 8-1 record in first-round matches in 2022, and in Madrid this week he has produced back-to-back wins for the first time since he reached the final of the Sydney International in January.
Murray said ahead of the Djokovic match: “In theory I should have no chance in the match. He’s obviously No. 1 in the world [and] I’m playing with a metal hip, so I shouldn’t have a chance in the match.”
World No. 1 Djokovic leads the head-to-head record 25-11 and had won five of their previous six meetings on clay.
The Serb beat Gael Monfils 6-3 6-2 in the Round of 16 in his 18th straight victory against the Frenchman.
Djokovic and Murray share an on-court rivalry which began 16 years ago in Madrid. Djokovic has credited the way Murray has been able to prolong his career after requiring multiple hip surgeries.
“To have him still compete is great,” the 20-time Grand Slam winner told reporters after overcoming Monfils.
“To have him even play at [a] high level as the time goes by is impressive, considering the surgery and what he has been through in the past few years. His resilience and fighting spirit is really inspiring.”