Djokovic withdraws from Shanghai Masters – full explanation and key details

Historically speaking, the Shanghai Masters has been a decent tournament for Novak Djokovic in his decorated career. Djokovic has won this Masters 1000 tournament on four separate occasions. Yet despite the 2023 Shanghai Masters being held in a few week’s time, as scheduled for the beginning of October, Novak Djokovic has already withdrawn. News broke of his withdrawal just a day or two ago, at the time of writing, and the tennis world has had one eyebrow raised since the announcement. 

Djokovic Shanghai Masters

Don’t forget – Novak Djokovic also withdrew from the Toronto Open, which was another Masters 1000 event held during the build-up to the US Open. So understandably, some fans are wondering why Djokovic is turning his back on these Masters 1000 events. As for others, they are realizing that the guy is 36 years of age, so he obviously isn’t going to play a packed schedule during the ATP calendar anymore. But whichever side of the fence you sit on, Djokovic’s Shanghai Masters withdrawal will no doubt be disappointed.

Speaking for myself, I was excited about the prospect of Novak Djokovic competing in Shanghai to try and add another Masters 1000 title to his 2023 campaign. Yet following his withdrawal, all we can do is look into the reason for the withdrawal a little more and come up with our own assessments regarding the situation. On that note, I’ve provided my two cents on the withdrawal right here.

The Djokovic Shanghai Masters withdrawal – a surprise or expected?

Remember I stated that Djokovic has been rather successful at the Shanghai Masters in his career? Well, to emphasize exactly how successful, I can tell you that he has a record of 34-5 at that particular tournament. So he has only ever lost five matches at the Shanghai Masters in his entire career – impressive stuff! Of course, the fact that this tournament is played on pretty quick hard courts has helped Djokovic at this venue over the years. But following the announcement of Djokovic’s Shanghai Masters withdrawal, we must accept that the world number one won’t be there this year.

And to give you the full scope concerning this withdrawal, I’ve addressed three key areas below that will help provide some clarity on the situation. 

Reason for withdrawal – fatigue

First thing’s first – why has Novak Djokovic withdrawn from the Shanghai Masters? Well, as you can see, the official reason for the withdrawal is fatigue. Interestingly, this was the exact reason that he withdrew from Toronto as well. Then again, to stress once more, the man is 36 years of age, so it’s perfectly normal that it takes him longer to recover from his legendary exploits. To add more substance to justify this, he had a grueling hard-court swing in North America in recent weeks.

He went all the way in Cincinnati, beating Alcaraz in a final that was nothing shy of remarkable. After that, he spent two weeks in New York before earning his 24th Grand Slam title. And just days after that, he traveled to Spain to represent Serbia in the Davis Cup. So clearly, his schedule has been rather full-on, to say the least.

Surprising? Not entirely

Although the Shanghai Masters is still a few weeks away, many are wondering if it’s really that surprising to see that Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the event. After all, he still has several weeks to recover, right? That’s true, but fans must also understand that the 2023 ATP season is far from over. As for what’s ahead for Novak Djokovic over the next few months, he will no doubt be playing in the Paris Masters at the very beginning of November. And after that, his attention will turn to the ATP Finals – an event that he has already qualified for.

Of course, the Davis Cup is also thrown into the schedule, so Novak Djokovic is still due to play a ton of top-level tennis before his 2023 season is over. 

Should we read much into the Shanghai Masters withdrawal?

In my humble opinion, any speculations on Novak Djokovic’s retirement due to this withdrawal from Shanghai are rather unjustified. Sure, he has withdrawn from another Masters 1000 event for the season, but he has given no other indications that he is thinking of hanging up his rackets. In fact, the social media post that confirmed his Shanghai Masters withdrawal also stated that he hopes to play in front of the Shanghai crowd again. This alone shows that Novak Djokovic is not turning his thoughts to retirement.

And just to throw more clarity on this – Goran Ivanisevic, Djokovic’s coach, stated after the US Open victory that Djokovic is even talking about competing in the 2024 Olympics!

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