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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic will play a pair of Melbourne exhibitions next week then decide if his cranky right elbow is fit enough for the Australian Open.

Photo credit: Lacoste

Novak Djokovic has not abandoned his Australian Open aims.

The six-time Australian Open champion announced he will play two Melbourne exhibitions next week to assess the state of his cranky right elbow.

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Djokovic was forced out of Abu Dhabi and Doha due to a recurrence of elbow pain that forced him to shut down his season after the 2017 Wimbledon quarterfinals.

The former world No. 1 will make a decision on his status for the Australian Open after his exhibition appearances.

The Australian Open starts on January 15th.

Djokovic will join David Goffin, Dominic Thiem and Marin Cilic in the Kooyong Classic, set for January 10-12th.

The world No. 12 is scheduled to play at the Tie Break Tens exhibition event at Margaret Court Arena at Melbourne Park on the night of January 10th. The Australian debut of the format comes after three previous editions in London, Vienna and Madrid. Rafael Nadal, Nick Kyrgios, Stan Wawrinka and Lleyton Hewitt are also scheduled to play the Melbourne exhibition.

"After the two events, the decision will be made about his participation at the first Grand Slam of the season, the Australian Open," said a statement posted on Djokovic's website.

The 30-year-old Serbian pulled the plug on his 2017 season in July in order to heal from the elbow injury that pained him for nearly 18 months. Djokovic’s streak of 51 consecutive Grand Slam appearances—the seventh-longest streak overall—ended when he missed the 2017 US Open.

Djokovic went about four months without swinging a racquet before resuming training in Monte Carlo with coaches Andre Agassi and Radek Stepanek.

After his Doha withdrawal, Djokovic said "only when I'm 100 percent ready to play, I will be able to come back."


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