Djokovic forced to miss Monte Carlo

Novak Djokovic has pulled out of next week's Monte Carlo Masters through injury. The world No 2, who is unbeaten this year with 24 straight wins, has a knee problem.

"It is a very sad moment not only for this tournament and my fans, but also for myself," the 23-year-old said in a statement on his official website.

"This is my favourite tournament and my home event. Monte Carlo is where I spend most of my time away from the circuit and this is my club where I practice and train all year long. Unfortunately I had to take this decision to withdraw."

The Serbian has won tournaments in Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami since taking the Australian Open title in January.

Meanwhile, former world No 1 Dinara Safina was forced to abandon her quarter-final against top seed Victoria Azarenka at the Andalucia Tennis Championships yesterday because of a lower back injury.

Azarenka of Belarus, winner in Miami last week, was leading 5-1 when Russian Safina, who has slipped to 81 in the rankings, retired from the event in Marbella.