After months of rehab and optimism, Novak Djokovic’s start to the 2018 season will be delayed after the former No. 1 had to withdraw from the Abu Dhabi exo due to continued elbow pain.
“I am terribly disappointed that I am forced to withdraw from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship,” Djokovic said in a statement today. “Unfortunately, in the past few days I started to feel pain in the elbow and after several tests, my medical team has advised me not to risk anything, to withdraw from the tournament and to immediately continue with the therapies.
“I am very sad because I was eager to return to playing official matches. I enjoyed the practices and everything I did to get ready for the start of the season, including the tournament in Abu Dhabi, where I always enjoy playing. Now I need to accept this situation, and to wait for the results of the therapies, in order to start playing tennis again and getting back to full rhythm. This might affect the start of the season and the tournament plan, but the decision will be made in the following days.”
If you are hoping to see Novak in Melbourne, this doesn’t sound good. The Serb is scheduled to officially open his ATP campaign in Doha next week, but that seems very unlikely. And following five months of recovery, how can Djokovic’s elbow be ready in just a couple weeks?
In place of Djokovic, Andy Murray, who just happened to have flown into Abu Dhabi yesterday (coincidence?), will face Roberto Bautista Agut in an exo match today.
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