NEW YORK — Novak Djokovic has pulled out of the doubles at the Western & Southern Open, citing neck pain.
The 33-year old Djokovic, who has 17 Grand Slam singles titles, remains the top seed in the singles draw, where he won’t play his first match against qualifier Ricardis Berankis of Lithuania until Monday after a first-round bye.
Djokovic was entered in the doubles draw with Serbian compatriot Filip Krajinovic.
The Western & Southern Open, traditionally played in Cincinnati, was moved to New York and is underway in a controlled “bubble” environment at the USTA National Tennis Center. It is a prelude to the US Open, which begins Aug. 31.
Djokovic won the title in Cincinnati in 2018, becoming the only ATP player to have won each of the nine ATP Masters 1000 tournaments. He lost in the semifinals in 2019.
On track to be the top seed at the upcoming US Open, Djokovic, who won the Australian Open to start the year, last played an official ATP match in late February, winning the title in Dubai. He had an 18-0 record in 2020 before the pandemic shut down the pro game in mid-March.
Djokovic created and hosted the “Adria Tour” in June, but that series of exhibitions was abandoned after the completion of just one event when Djokovic and others tested positive for COVID-19.
Djokovic suffered no symptoms and has since tested negative for the coronavirus.