Djokovic goes on side­lines be­cause of in­jured el­bow

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - BY HOWARD FENDRICH

For more than a year, No­vak Djokovic’s right el­bow hurt when he hit serves or fore­hands. The pain kept get­ting worse, and now he’s go­ing to give his arm a chance to heal by sit­ting out the rest of 2017.

Djokovic will miss the U.S. Open, end­ing his streak of par­tic­i­pat­ing in 51 con­sec­u­tive Grand Slam tour­na­ments, and aims to re­turn to the ATP tour in Jan­uary. He made the an­nounce­ment Wed­nes­day ex­actly a year to the day af­ter Roger Fed­erer said he would be side­lined for the sec­ond half of last sea­son.

“This is one of those in­juries where noth­ing can re­ally help in­stantly. You just have to al­low nat­u­ral re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion to take its course,” Djokovic said. “Pro­fes­sion­ally, this is not, ob­vi­ously, an easy de­ci­sion for me.”

Since en­ter­ing his first ma­jor tour­na­ment at the 2005 Aus­tralian Open, Djokovic has never missed one, the third-longest ac­tive run among men and sev­enth-longest in his­tory.

In that time, the 30-year-old Serb has won 12 Grand Slam ti­tles, in­clud­ing the U.S. Open in 2011 and 2015. Only three men have won more ma­jor tennis sin­gles cham­pi­onships: Fed­erer (19), Rafael Nadal (15) and Pete Sam­pras (14).

“The re­mark­able se­ries has come to an end,” Djokovic said. “My body has its lim­its, and I have to re­spect that and be grate­ful for all that I have achieved so far.”

He said that Andre Agassi, with whom he re­cently be­gan work­ing on a part-time ba­sis, will be his coach af­ter the hia­tus. Djokovic plans to start with a tuneup tour­na­ment ahead of the Aus­tralian Open at the start of 2018.

“He sup­ports my de­ci­sion to take a break and re­mains my head coach,” Djokovic said about Agassi.

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