No­vak Djokovic to miss rest of 2017, in­clud­ing US Open

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

No­vak Djokovic will sit out the rest of this sea­son be­cause of an in­jured right el­bow, mean­ing he will miss the US Open and end his streak of par­tic­i­pat­ing in 51 con­sec­u­tive Grand Slam tour­na­ments. “It is the most im­por­tant for me to re­cover, to be able to play in­jury free for as long as pos­si­ble, to com­pete in the sport that has given me so much, the sport I love,” Djokovic said yes­ter­day. “Of course I want to re­turn to the win­ning form, to win again, to win the tro­phies. But now it is not the time to talk about it. At this point, I’m fo­cus­ing on re­cov­ery.”

Un­til now, Djokovic has never missed a ma­jor tour­na­ment since he en­tered his first, the 2005 Aus­tralian Open. That is 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 US Open in 2011 and 2015.

“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, who he re­cently be­gan work­ing with on a part­time ba­sis, will be his coach when Djokovic re­turns to the tour next year. He plans to start with a tuneup tour­na­ment ahead of the Aus­tralian Open in Jan­uary.

“He sup­ports my de­ci­sion to take a break, and re­mains my head coach,” Djokovic said. “He is go­ing to help me get back into shape and bounce back strong af­ter the re­cov­ery pe­riod.” Djokovic made his an­nounce­ment via Face­book , his web­site and at a news con­fer­ence in Belgrade, Ser­bia.

Djokovic’s last match was on July 12, when he stopped play­ing dur­ing his Wim­ble­don quar­ter­fi­nal against To­mas Berdych be­cause of the el­bow. Djokovic said that day he was in pain when he hit serves and fore­hands. At the time, Djokovic said he had been strug­gling with the el­bow on his racket-swing­ing arm for about 11/2 years and so far had opted against hav­ing surgery - and he re­it­er­ated Wed­nes­day that he does not need an op­er­a­tion.

But he also said then that he would se­ri­ously con­sider tak­ing a pro­longed break from the tour. Since win­ning the 2016 French Open to com­plete a ca­reer Grand Slam and be­come the first man in nearly a half-cen­tury to win four con­sec­u­tive ma­jor tro­phies, Djokovic’s form has dipped. He has fallen from No. 1 to No. 4 in the ATP rank­ings and failed to de­fend any of those ti­tles. He has made it past the quar­ter­fi­nals at only one of the past five Grand Slam tour­na­ments: last year’s US Open, where he lost in the fi­nal to Stan Wawrinka.

Djokovic, who also men­tioned yes­ter­day that his wife is ex­pect­ing their sec­ond child, reached at least the semi­fi­nals at Flush­ing Mead­ows each of the past 10 years. That in­cludes seven ap­pear­ances in the fi­nal. This year’s US Open starts Aug. 28. —AP

No­vak Djokovic

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