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Novak Djokovic to miss US Open: Djokovic ends 2017 season due to injury

James Smith 26 Jul 2017
  • Novak Djokovic will not compete again in 2017 due to a right elbow injury
  • Djokovic blamed 'excessive playing' for the injury and will follow in the footsteps of Roger Federer by taking a prolonged break from the sport
  • Watch and bet on tennis live at bet365 > live streaming > tennis
Novak Djokovic announces he won't compete for the remainder of 2017 (ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic blames elbow injury on 'excessive playing' and shuts down his 2017 season.

Watch and bet on tennis live at bet365 > live streaming > tennis

World no. 4 Novak Djokovic announced on Wednesday that he will not compete for the remainder of the 2017 season, missing the US Open and ATP World Tour Finals among other events, as he focuses on recovering from his right elbow injury

Djokovic last competed at Wimbledon, where he retired trailing Tomas Berdych 6-7(2), 0-2 in the quarterfinals due to the elbow injury.

‘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,’ a statement on Djokovic's website read.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion will not play again until January 2018, when he plans to compete at a warm-up event before the Australian Open – a tournament he has won six times.

Djokovic will be following in the footsteps of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who both recently took prolonged breaks from competition, by shutting down his 2017 season early. Federer, who underwent knee surgery in February 2016, did not play for the rest of the year after losing in the Wimbledon semifinals; Nadal only played five events after the French Open in May 2016 and ended his season early. Both men have made triumphant comebacks in 2017, with Federer winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon and Nadal a record tenth Roland Garros title. Each has seemed renewed physically, emotionally and in some ways strategically by an enforced break from the sport.
‘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,’ Djokovic said.

Ending his 2017 season will mean that Djokovic misses the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open; the remaining Masters 1000 Series events in Montreal, Cincinnati, Shanghai and Paris; the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals and Serbia’s forthcoming Davis Cup semifinal against France.

Djokovic’s right elbow has been a problem for him since at least Wimbledon 2016, when his stunning streak of four major titles in a row and 30 consecutive Grand Slam match wins was snapped by Sam Querrey in the fourth round. From completely dominating the sport when he completed the career Grand Slam by winning the French Open, Djokovic found himself dethroned as world no. 1 by the end of 2016 and is due to drop out of the world’s top five for the first time since 2007 next week.

‘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,’ Djokovic’s statement read.   
‘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 hasn’t been absent from a Grand Slam event since 2004. 

The world no. 4 has also been dogged by rumours regarding nebulous personal issues and potential problems with his marriage over the past year or so – most recently revived by John McEnroe, who compared Djokovic to Tiger Woods during Wimbledon. But the 30-year-old player’s statement focused heavily on the prospect of spending time with his young son Stefan and pregnant wife Jelena during his lay-off from the sport. 

‘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’s statement read.

Djokovic, who split from his entire team including his long-time coach and mentor Marian Vajda in May, also confirmed that he will continue to work with new head coach Andre Agassi. 

‘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’s statement read. 

The Big Four are now down to three for the rest of the 2017 tennis season and tennis fans will be hoping that Andy Murray, who also turned 30 this year and has been struggling with a hip injury, will be fit for the US hard-court swing. Federer, Nadal and Murray are all due to play in the Canadian Masters, which starts on August 7, 2017.

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Novak Djokovic to miss US Open: Djokovic ends 2017 season due to injury

30-year-old Novak Djokovic, the world no. 4, to miss the US Open and ATP World Tour Finals among other events as he shuts down his 2017 season to rehab a right elbow injury, planning to return to competition in 2018

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