Djokovic to sit out remainder of season
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 champion- ships: 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.
Djokovic made his announcement via Facebook , his website and at a news conference in Belgrade, Serbia.
His last match was July 12, when he stopped playing during his Wimbledon quarterfinal against Tomas Berdych because the elbow was too painful. Djokovic said then he had been struggling with the elbow on his racket-swinging arm for about 1½ years, which he reiterated Wednesday. He said he does not need surgery.
Since winning the 2016 French Open to become the eighth man to complete a career Grand Slam and the first man in nearly a half-century to win four consecutive major trophies, Djokovic has dropped from No. 1 to No. 4 in the rankings and he failed to defend any of those major titles.