Former world number one and 12-time major winner Novak Djokovic has pulled out of the Mubadala world championships in Abu Dhabi after a fresh elbow injury setback.
The Serb was due to face Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in his first match in almost six months on Friday.
Djokovic hasn't played since retiring from his quarter-final at Wimbledon against Tomas Berdych in July with an elbow injury.
The 30-year-old was also scheduled to launch his competitive campaign as top seed at the Qatar Open next week but said: "This might affect the start of the season and the tournament plan, but the decision will be made in the following days."
In a statement posted on his official website, Djokovic added: "I am terribly disappointed that I am forced to withdraw from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship. Unfortunately, in the past few days I started to feel pain in the elbow and after several tests, my medical team has advised me not to risk anything, to withdraw from the tournament and to immediately continue with the therapies.
“I am very sad because I was eager to return to playing official matches. I enjoyed the practices and everything I did to get ready for the start of the season, including the tournament in Abu Dhabi, where I always enjoy playing. Now I need to accept this situation, and to wait for the results of the therapies, in order to start playing tennis again and getting back to full rhythm."
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