In­jured Djokovic will come back men­tally stronger - Cash

Observer on Saturday - - Sport -

JO­HAN­NES­BURG Twelve-times grand slam cham­pion No­vak Djokovic’s en­forced in­jury break gives him enough time to re­dis­cover his in­tense play­ing style and will also make him men­tally tougher on his re­turn, for­mer Wim­ble­don cham­pion Pat Cash has said.

The 30-year-old Serb said he will miss the rest of the ten­nis sea­son, in­clud­ing next month’s US Open, to re­cover from a right el­bow in­jury.

“It will take time for him to get his in­ten­sity back,” Cash, the 1987 Wim­ble­don sin­gles cham­pion, told the BBC.

“Djokovic’s style is very sim­i­lar to al­most every­one else on the cir­cuit, but he was just that bit fit­ter, that bit more flex­i­ble, that bit more men­tally tough.

“It is prob­a­bly just what the doc­tor or­dered, to take time off. Af­ter so many un­be­liev­able years, 2017 has been poor for him.” Djokovic has strug­gled over the last 12 months on the court, los­ing all the grand slam ti­tles he held si­mul­ta­ne­ously af­ter win­ning the 2016 French Open. He also lost his world num­ber one rank­ing to Andy Mur­ray at the end of last year.

Cash be­lieves Djokovic should not be ex­pected to re­turn from his in­jury lay­off as spec­tac­u­larly as Roger Fed­erer, who came back from a long-term knee is­sue ear­lier this year to lift Aus­tralian Open and Wim­ble­don ti­tles.

“It won’t be like Roger Fed­erer, who was win­ning grand slams straight out of the blocks af­ter he came back, but some time next year he will be play­ing well again,” Cash added.

“He will be very sen­si­ble and make sure he is ready when he does come back.”

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