Andy Murray pulls out of Madrid Open clash with Novak Djokovic due to food poisoning

Andy Murray has withdrawn from the Madrid Open shortly before his much-anticipated last-16 match against old rival Novak Djokovic due to a reported bout of food poisoning.

Three-time major winner Murray was due to face Djokovic for the first time since 2017, after defeating 14th-seed Denis Shapovalov in a second-round match that finished after midnight earlier this week.

However, just over an hour before the pair were due to take to Manolo Santana Stadium on Thursday, tournament organisers confirmed that Murray had pulled out due to “illness”.

It later emerged that the former world number one had been suffering from food poisoning, to the point where he had not practised at all the previous day.

Murray’s former doubles partner and tournament director Feliciano Lopez said: “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.”

Despite Murray claiming he would skip the clay court season in order to protect his fitness following hip surgery, he accepted a late wildcard entry for the Madrid Open and has subsequently played some of his best tennis of 2022.

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He defeated both Shapovalov and world number 15 Dominic Thiem on his way to the Djokovic match-up, and expressed palpable excitement at the opportunity to face his old rival for the 37th time in his career.

“He’s the world number one and I’ve got a metal hip,” Murray said.

“I didn’t know I’d get opportunities to play matches like this again.

As a result, Djokovic will now sail through to the Madrid quarter-finals, where he will face the 12th-seed Polish player, Hubert Hurkacz.

Murray is now in a race against time to recover in order to compete at the Italian Open in Rome, which begins this weekend.

He had previously said he had no plans to play at the French Open, in order to prioritise his fitness ahead of the following grass court season.

Carlos Alcaraz will face his countryman Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals.(AP: Wilfredo Lee)

Meanwhile, two Spaniards will go head-to-head in the quarter-final stage as Rafael Nadal faces 19-year-old prodigy Carlos Alcaraz, who became the youngest top-10-ranked male tennis player since Nadal himself, 17 years ago, after the teenager won the Barcelona Open in April.

In the women’s event, Jessie Pegula has become the first American since Serena Williams, in 2013, to reach the final of the Madrid Open.

The world number 14 will take on Tunisia’s Jons Jabeur as she hunts for her first WTA 1000 title.

Reference-www.abc.net.au

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