It’s official, Novak Djokovic’s 2017 season is officially over. A year ago Roger Federer ending his season following Wimbledon, now it’s Djokovic.
The Serb cited a bad right elbow he has been battling for some 18 months, he said during a news conference earlier today.
“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,” said Djokovic. “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.”
The US Open will be the first Grand Slam Djokovic has missed since the 2004 season.
The elbow, he said, just wouldn’t heal under the strain of the pro tour.
“My elbow is hurt due to excessive playing, and it troubles me constantly when serving, and now when playing forehand as well,” he said. “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.”
Djokovic hopes to return refreshed for 2018.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Finally, Djokovic added that Andre Agassi is still part of his life, and will help him recover.
“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.”
The 30-year-old Djokovic will fall out of the Top 10 and likely be around No. 15 when the season opens in January.
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