Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic stunned both fans and observers of the sport in late December with a statement hinting that he may have to sit out the Australian Open. Djokovic admitted that the problems that have kept him from the court since his withdrawal from Wimbledon are related to a long-standing elbow injury.
The 20-year-old Djokovic appeared to be doing well in earning a place in the Wimbledon quarterfinals this past July. He suddenly retired against Thomas Berdych after it became clear he could not continue to play at a high enough level to compete. Djokovic has not played since.
There was some hope Djokovic would be ready to go again by the end of the year. However, that optimism was dampened by his withdrawal from December events in Abu Dhabi and Qatar. Now it appears that his participation in the Australian Open might be in jeopardy.
Neither Djokovic nor anyone close to him has completely ruled out playing in Australia. In fact, he plans to participate in two exhibition tournaments leading up to the Open. If his injured elbow performs well, he may decide to go ahead and play at Melbourne Park. The Australian Open is slated to commence on January 15.
Although Djokovic has not disclosed details of his injury, it is likely he is suffering from tennis elbow or something similar. In a recent interview, Djokovic specifically mentioned muscles, ligaments, and elbow pain — a common symptom of tennis elbow. He said in that same interview that he will be ready to resume competitive play when he feels like he is at 100%.
Could the elbow injury mean the end of Djokovic’s career if it persists? That’s always possible. Hopefully the treatment he is now receiving will get him back on the court in time to play the Australian Open. His fans would certainly appreciate it. If he can’t go, his current ranking at number 12 could be in jeopardy.