Novak Djokovic will miss the US Open next month and the rest of 2017 as he bids to recover from the elbow injury that forced him to withdraw from Wimbledon.
Djokovic said it had been a “year and a half” of carrying the injury and he had decided to “not play any competition or tournament for the rest of 2017". The former world number one said it would be “a couple of months at least without the racket".
Speaking via Facebook on Wednesday afternoon, the 12-times Grand Slam champion confirmed he was taking the rest of the year away from the sport to rest and recover.
“It was a decision which had to be made,” Djokovic said on Facebook Live. “Wimbledon was probably the toughest tournament of me for feeling the pain which has escalated.
“I consulted many doctors and specialists in the last 12-15 months, especially in last couple of months when the injury grew, and they all agree I need rest and time.
"Nothing can help instantly, you just have to allow natural rehabilitation to take course. Professionally it is not an easy decision, but I’m trying to look at the positive side – I will try to use this time as best as I can, with quality time with my family."
It means he will also miss the Davis Cup semi-finals with Serbia visiting France in September and the season-ending World Tour finals at the O2 in London in November.
"After a year and a half of carrying the injury, I've made the decision to not play tournaments for the rest of the 2017 season," said Djokovic speaking live from Belgrade.
Djokovic, 30, has been seeking medical advice since withdrawing from his Wimbledon quarter-final trailing Tomas Berdych 7-6 2-0 a fortnight ago.
Djokovic has won the US Open twice, the last time in 2015 when he beat Roger Federer in the final in New York. He reached the final at Flushing Meadows a year ago, but lost in four sets to Stanislas Wawrinka
. In a statement on novakdjokovic.com, he said he was also focused on becoming a father for the second time.
“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," he said.
"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."
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