Dubai: Andy Murray will have to wait at least another month before getting a chance of avenging himself upon Novak Djokovic after pulling out of the Dubai Open with a wrist injury.
The Scot lost to the Serbian in the Australian Open final a month ago, and had been scheduled for a possible repeat with his career-long rival during next week's two-million-dollar event.
But Murray told the world via his website that he is not fit to compete, even though he only played one match in Rotterdam last week, losing in straight sets to Marcos Baghdatis.
It means Murray will not have a chance of facing Djokovic, or any of the other leading players, until the ATP 1000 tournament at Indian Wells, starting on March 10.
It was the briefest of announcements, saying: "Andy has withdrawn from the forthcoming ATP 500 event in Dubai due to a wrist injury. Andy would like to apologise both to the tournament and its fans."
Murray suffered a career-threatening right wrist injury in Hamburg in 2007, which sidelined him for three months and spoilt the rest of that season. He also had a wrist injury at the end of 2009, but this time around it is left wrist which is paining him.
However it is possible that there is another ingredient in his decision not to compete again until the two mandatory tournaments in the United States in March and April.
Last year after losing in the final of the Australian Open, Murray experienced such a dip emotionally and physically that he did not hit form again till Wimbledon five months later. His absence for the best part of eight weeks this time may help prevent a repeat.
"We were looking forward to welcoming Andy back to the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and it is a great pity that he is injured and won't be able to make it," said Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of the tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free.
"We wish him all the best for his recovery and hope he will be in top shape again to compete at Indian Wells next month."
It remained unclear whether or not Murray had contacted the tournament before announcing his decision. It was here a year ago that he was censured for stating that what he did in matches was similar to what he would be doing if he were training.
Then the tournament, which was reputed to have paid him 400,000 dollars, announced that it was "disappointed" with his remarks as they might harm ticket sales.
The disappointment this time is of a different kind, though a final between Djokovic and Roger Federer, which is the most likely scenario, might go some way towards erasing that emotion.