Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic will have to miss the remainder of the 2017 ATP season due to his right elbow injury. The world no.4 made the announcement on a press conference in Belgrade on Wednesday, when he explained that he is forced to take a break from playing and skip all tournaments until the end of the season, including the US Open, the Asian swing, indoor Masters events and the Davis Cup semi-final tie. Aiming to return to full health, Novak will give his elbow and body the proper time to recover to come back strong and in the best shape in 2018.
“All the doctors I’ve consulted, and all the specialists I have visited, in Serbia and all over the world, have agreed that this injury requires rest. A prolonged break from the sport is inevitable. I’ll do whatever it takes to recover. I will use the upcoming period to strengthen my body and also to improve certain tennis elements that I have not been able to work on over the past years, due to a demanding schedule. Five months may seem long from this point, but I’m sure they will pass quickly because there is so much I want to do. Another important moment is coming, we will become parents for a second time. My wife Jelena and I are expecting our second child, and we are preparing to welcome a new family member. These are things that fill me with greatest happiness and delight. I’m confident I will be ready for start of the new season,“ Djokovic said.
The 12-time Grand Slam champion is set to return to tour-level competition at the beginning of the next season, planning on playing a warm-up event ahead of the 2018 Australian Open.
“It is the most important for me to recover, to be able to play injury free for as long as possible, to compete in the sport that has given me so much, the sport I love. Of course I want to return to the winning form, to win again, to win the trophies. But now it is not the time to talk about it. At this point, I’m focusing on recovery.”
In the past weeks, Novak was doing different checks and consultations, getting opinions from respectable doctors, and everyone said that a break from playing was necessary.
“My elbow is hurt due to excessive playing, and it troubles me constantly when serving, and now when playing forehand as well. Unfortunately, such injuries are often encountered in a professional sport, and I am very proud of the fact that I have been free from serious injuries during all these years. I think I haven’t missed a single major event for more than 10 years, I’ve been reaching the final stages of the tournaments and playing at the highest level. The remarkable series has come to an end. My body has its limits, and I have to respect that and be grateful for all that I have achieved so far. At the beginning of my career I was facing health issues, but during years, and with a lot of patience and dedication, I found a solution. That’s the approach I take to this situation, and I firmly believe that I will come back stronger.”
Novak Djokovic will continue cooperation with his current team of professionals and with Andre Agassi as his head coach.
“We’ve been speaking regularly. Andre was with me in Toronto and he helped me find doctors, specialists in treating elbow injuries. During this short period of time, we’ve been getting to know each other and building trust and understanding. He supports my decision to take a break, and remains my head coach. He is going to help me get back into shape and bounce back strong after the recovery period,” Djokovic concluded.