Roger Federer withdrew from the French Open on Thursday after failing to recover from a back injury, bringing to an end the 17-time major winner's astonishing run of 65 consecutive Grand Slams.
Twelve months after his latest bid to complete a career Grand Slam was thwarted, Novak Djokovic targets an elusive French Open title with time and history threatening to conspire against him.
Novak Djokovic underlined the growing clay-court threat of Andy Murray barely a fortnight from the French Open after conceding defeat to the British No. 1 in the final of the Rome Masters.
The UK's Andy Murray remained on course for a second successive Masters final with Serbia's No. 1 Novak Djokovic after both came through the quarterfinals in Rome on Friday.
Defending champion Novak Djokovic overcame a first-set scare to set up a Rome Masters quarterfinal with Rafael Nadal thanks to a 0-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Tomaz Bellucci on Thursday.
Roger Federer joined Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray in reaching the third round of the Rome Masters on Wednesday with the Swiss admitting that he was fully expecting to lose against Alexander Zverev.
Rafael Nadal said Tuesday that he is in confident mood ahead of his first match of the Rome Masters, despite his semifinal defeat to Andy Murray in Madrid last week.
Andy Murray split with coach Amelie Mauresmo on Monday, ending a groundbreaking two-year relationship during which the British star improved as a clay-court player but failed to add to his collection of Grand Slam titles.
Rafael Nadal will face defending champion Andy Murray in the Madrid Masters semifinals after extending his perfect start to the European clay-court season to 13 matches with a 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 win over Joao Sousa on Friday.
World No.1 Novak Djokovic racked up his 30th win of a dominant season with a 6-2, 6-1 destruction of Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut to reach the Madrid Masters quarterfinals on Thursday.