"Impossible" for Djokovic to play in Serbia
Novak Djokovic admits pulling out of the Serbia Open was a tough decision to take but insists he had no other option than to withdraw.
The world number one is a regular participant in his home event during the clay-court season but will not play this year as he tries to come to terms with the death of his grandfather. The five-time Grand Slam winner heard the news during last week's Monte Carlo Masters and, although he made the final, was no match for Rafael Nadal, going down in straight sets in the Principality. Djokovic was clearly not in the right mental state to play the Spanish clay-court maestro and his emotions were clear to see towards the end of the week. The clay-court season is now well under way with the Barcelona Open in full swing and with tournaments in Madrid and Rome to follow. The Serbian ace likes to play in Belgrade to fine-tune his game ahead of the Masters Series events, but will this year take some time off to get both his mind and body right for the forthcoming challenges, and he feels he has made the right choice. "I have decided not to take part in the Serbia Open to try to get some much-needed rest," he said. "This is probably one of the most difficult decisions I have made in my career. "But it is impossible for me to play in the coming days and think of tennis when other things are on my mind." Djokovic is enjoying another excellent season following his amazing performances in 2011 but has never won the French Open. He will return in the Spanish capital and, if everything clicks into place, looks like the only man who can challenge Nadal on the slowest surface over the next few weeks and at Roland Garros.