Former world number one Novak Djokovic has been handed a tough draw for the upcoming Madrid Masters, while Marin Cilic has been forced to withdraw.
Djokovic has been struggling for form of late, coming off an elbow injury that affected much of his 2017 season. The Serb has not had the best time of it upon return, amassing a 5-5 win/loss record for the year with a number of early exits.
Now the world number 12 looks to get back on track at the Madrid Masters, but there are several hurdles in his way, the first being the talented Kei Nishikori.
Djokovic leads their head-to-head 10-2, the Japanese star has a great record on clay and will fancy his chances against an out of sorts Djokovic in round one. Beyond that, clay court supremo David Goffin lies in wait in round three if all hold seed.
Meanwhile, top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal arrives in Madrid on an outrageous win streak that dates back to January. In fact, the King of Clay has won his last 46 sets on clay and looks set to pick up a 78th career title.
Finally, world number four Marin Cilic has been forced to pull out of the Madrid event, citing knee issues, putting his participation in the French Open at the end of May in doubt. The 2014 US Open champion confirmed the injury on twitter.
I'm sorry to share that I won't be playing at the Madrid Open due to knee pains. I began feeling sharp knee pain back in Monaco and while I'm eager to compete, my team and I decided the best option is to pause and focus on rehab. Thank you for your understanding and support. 🙏🏻
— Marin Cilic (@cilic_marin) May 4, 2018