Novak Djokovic pulled out of his usual pre-Wimbledon warm-up event on Thursday, citing a wrist injury and sparking concerns about his fitness ahead of the year's third Grand Slam.
The World No. 2 had been set to face Dutchman Robin Haase in an exhibition match at the Boodles Tennis Challenge in Stoke Park, a regular feature of the Serb's Wimbledon preparation.
However, his withdrawal now means he heads to SW19 having not played a single competitive grass-court match in preparation, per Mike Dickson in the Daily Mail:
The exact extent of the world No. 2's discomfort remains unclear, but he withdrew from the Boodles tournament at Stoke Park as ‘a precaution’.
With Wimbledon starting on Monday, it means last year’s beaten finalist will open his campaign having not had any kind of preparatory match on grass after making the final of the French Open.
The 27-year-old has had wrist problems in the past, withdrawing from the Madrid Open with the same complaint as recently as May this year.
While it seems that Djokovic will still be able to compete in this year's Wimbledon, it is by no means ideal preparation as he looks to repeat his 2011 victory when he beat Rafael Nadal in the final.
Last year saw him lose out to Andy Murray for the Wimbledon crown as the Scot won the final in three sets to become the first British winner of the men's singles title in 77 years.
Djokovic is the top men's seed at this year's event at London's All England Club, a quirk of the unique Wimbledon format putting him above world No. 1 and French Open champion Rafael Nadal, per The New York Times' Ben Rothenberg:
With Murray at third seed and seven-time champion Roger Federer at No. 4, it is the first time the "Big Four" have been seeded together in the top slots since Wimbledon 2012.
Djokovic is in with a great chance of winning his seventh Grand Slam title and is in good form, having made it all the way to the French Open final.
Former British tennis star Tim Henman is tipping him for the title, per Sky Sports' report from Thursday: "I think the winner of the men’s singles this year will be Novak Djokovic and I think the winner of the ladies’ singles will be Serena Williams."
This wrist niggle will no doubt cause him some small issues, not least because it has restricted his preparation time on grass courts.
However, the Serb has shown his supreme quality time and again in his career and, barring a major shock, Djokovic certainly has enough to go on and win a second Wimbledon title in 2014.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!