World No. 1 Novak Djokovic won't participate in one of the tournaments where he has had the most success, as the six-time China Open champ pulled out because of an elbow injury.
"I am very sad not to be able to compete at the China Open this year," Djokovic said in a statement Wednesday. "I am still recovering and have been advised not to play tournaments until my condition improves and allows me to compete. I will continue with my rehabilitation and hope to be able to return to the ATP World Tour as soon as possible."
Djokovic last played in the final of the US Open 2½ weeks ago, where he fell to Stan Wawrinka in four sets. Despite a relatively easy path to the championship match (he was granted one walkover and two retirements), Djokovic was still bothered by a collection of medical woes. In his opening match against Jerzy Janowicz, Djokovic called a trainer just five games in to work on his arm.
In the fourth round, the 12-time Grand Slam winner needed a break to have his right shoulder massaged. And against Wawrinka, Djokovic needed a timeout to tend to a bloody toe.
Djokovic, who owns a perfect 29-0 record at the China Open, has a commanding lead in the rankings but has lost some steam since a sizzling start to the season in which he won the Australian and French Opens as well as four Masters Series titles.
"The China Open is one of my favorite tournaments," Djokovic said. "I have had a lot of success there. I love competing in front of the passionate Chinese fans and I look forward to coming back to Beijing in the future."
Djokovic is still scheduled to play the Shanghai Masters, which begins Oct. 9.