Novak Djokovic, the world number two in men’s tennis, has decided to take a break from the ATP Tour and skip the upcoming Shanghai Masters tournament. The 36-year-old announced his decision on social media on Sunday, saying he will miss his fans in China and hopes to come back in the future.
Djokovic has had a remarkable season, winning three of the four grand slam titles and reaching the final of the fourth. He won the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open, where he defeated Daniil Medvedev in straight sets last week. He also reached the final of Wimbledon, where he lost to Carlos Alcaraz in a thrilling five-setter.
Djokovic has now tied Margaret Court for the most grand slam titles in tennis history with 24. He also holds the record for the most weeks at number one with 337. He has been dominant on all surfaces, winning 10 titles on hard courts, six on clay and eight on grass.
Djokovic helps Serbia advance to the Davis Cup finals
Before taking his break, Djokovic joined his compatriots at the Davis Cup and helped Serbia advance to the finals in November. He played two singles matches and one doubles match, winning all of them. He beat Ben Shelton of the United States and Taylor Fritz of Germany in straight sets, and teamed up with Filip Krajinovic to defeat Fritz and John Isner in a tight doubles match.
Serbia topped their group with three wins out of three, and will face Spain in the quarter-finals of the Davis Cup finals, which will be held in Malaga, Spain. Djokovic has not confirmed if he will play in the finals, but he has expressed his love for representing his country in the past.
Djokovic has won two Davis Cup titles with Serbia, in 2010 and 2019. He has also won an Olympic bronze medal in 2008 and a silver medal in 2016. He was aiming for a golden slam this year, but fell short at the Tokyo Olympics, where he lost to Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals and Pablo Carreno Busta in the bronze medal match.
Djokovic faces competition from Alcaraz for the number one ranking
With Djokovic out of action for the next six weeks, he faces the possibility of losing the number one ranking to Alcaraz, who is only 1,500 points behind him. Alcaraz has been having a breakthrough season, winning his first grand slam title at Wimbledon and reaching the semi-finals of the US Open.
Alcaraz has also won three ATP titles this year, in Acapulco, Madrid and Cincinnati. He has been impressive on all surfaces, but especially on hard courts, where he has won 36 matches and lost only six. He is expected to play in Shanghai, Paris and the ATP Finals, where he can gain more points and challenge Djokovic for the top spot.
Djokovic has a lot of points to defend post-US Open, as he won Shanghai, Paris and the ATP Finals last year. He is likely to return for Paris and the ATP Finals this year, where he will have to perform well to keep his lead over Alcaraz. The battle for number one will be one of the most exciting storylines of the season.