Novak Djokovic withdrew from the Paris Masters on Friday, two days after earning a $1.6 million bonus for appearing in the tournament. The world No. 1 cited his ongoing shoulder issues as the reason for the withdrawal and his availability for the year-end ATP World Tour Finals is thought to be in doubt.
Djokovic issued a statement early Friday in which he explained his decision and apologized to fans.
Dear fans and friends, sadly I have to inform you that I have withdrawn from the further tournament. I have pushed myself to the limit by playing, and after the match yesterday my shoulder got worse. For this reason, I have to put my health first and withdraw even though my urges as a professional player are making me want to play until the last drop of energy. I am very sorry for all of you who bought tickets and wanted to come to watch me play. My season has been long and tiring, I played all of my matches at my highest level, and now my body is aching for recovery. Hoping for your understanding and support,
He played hurt for his first match when he could have theoretically stepped on the court for a point before quitting. In his next match, he was a set down to his friend and countryman. Nobody would have blinked if he had lost in straight sets. Yet he came back to win the match, giving ticket holders a show and advancing to the quarterfinals before pulling out.
After the year he's had and the injuries he dealt with in Paris, Novak Djokovic earned that bonus. Now he has to hope that doing so didn't aggravate his ailments enough to force him out of the ATP World Tour Finals.