Wimbledon: Novak Djokovic will miss the rest of the tennis season with a persistent elbow injury and has announced that Andre Agassi has agreed to remain part of his team next year. After 12 months of upheaval on and off the court, speculation had mounted that Djokovic would take an extended break from tennis in order to recover from the right elbow injury that forced him to retire during his Wimbledon quarter-final against Tomas Berdych. But while the 30-year-old’s decision to listen to medical advice means he will be absent from next month’s US Open, the world No4 vowed to return stronger than ever and expressed his happiness that Agassi will continue to coach him in 2018. “I will take this time to heal and do all the different suggested methods of rehabilitation and healing processes so I can get back on the court as soon as possible,” Djokovic said. “It will take a couple of months at least without a racket and I hope after that I can start to train. I’m looking forward to building my body and my game and my team.
“I’m happy to share that Andre Agassi is committed to stay with me next year. I want to thank Andre for being with me this year and sharing his experience and wisdom and I’m looking forward to getting back on the practice courts with him and having him in the box for any big tournaments.”
Djokovic’s announcement came exactly a year after Roger Federer cut short his 2016 season with a knee injury. Written off at the time, Federer returned from six months out to win the Australian Open in January and Wimbledon earlier this month. Djokovic, speaking in Belgrade, hopes that a similar period of rest will allow him to rediscover his spark. The Serbian has struggled ever since completing the career slam at last year’s French Open. The 30-year-old opted for the “shock therapy” of ripping up his coaching team earlier this year before reaching out to Agassi, who joined him at Roland Garros on an exploratory basis, but he ran out of steam when the elbow problem that has troubled him for 18 months flared up against Berdych at SW19.
He has since sought advice from specialists, including the Serbian doctor Zdenko Milinkovic, who said Djokovic is suffering from a “bruised bone due to excessive playing”. The 12-times champion has not missed a grand slam since making his debut at the 2005 Australian Open. He is set to slip to fifth in the rankings on Monday and could drop out of the top 10 by the end of the year. But Djokovic preferred to focus on the positives after his latest setback.
“I’m very grateful, that’s the strongest emotion I’m feeling lately, even though as a professional it is not an easy decision to swallow,” he said.
“I haven’t skipped any big tournament. I have played all the grand slams and probably 90% of the 1000 Masters series events. I was blessed to have a lot of success. I’m grateful for that. But I’m also very grateful that I kept my body very healthy throughout the years. I haven’t had too many injuries and especially no big injuries like this one that would keep me away from the tour for longer than a month. Agencies
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