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By Richard Pagliaro | Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Novak Djokovic

"I have made a decision to not play any competition, any tournaments, for the rest of the 2017 season," Novak Djokovic said.

Photo credit: Mark Peterson/Corleve

Novak Djokovic’s season is officially over.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion confirmed he’s pulling the plug on his 2017 season in order to heal from the right elbow injury that has pained him for the past 18 months.

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“After obviously a year-and-a-half of carrying the injury of the elbow that has culminated in the last couple of months, I have made a decision to not play any competition, any tournaments, for the rest of the 2017 season,” Djokovic announced on Facebook Live . “Unfortunately, this is the decision that had to be made at this moment. Wimbledon was probably the toughest tournament for me in terms of feeling that pain that has escalated.

“I have consulted many of the doctors and specialists and various people from both ends of the medicine in the last 12 to 15 months especially in the last couple of months where I felt the injury was getting worse. They all agreed that I need rest, that I need time.

The decision means Djokovic’s streak of 51 consecutive Grand Slam appearances—the third-longest active streak of Grand Slams played and the seventh-longest streak overall—will end.

The two-time US Open champion will miss the Flushing Meadows major for the first time in his career. Djokovic has reached the US Open final in six of the last seven years, including falling to Stan Wawrinka in the 2016 final.

Djokovic concludes his 2017 campaign with a 32-8 record, including tournament titles in Doha and Eastbourne. 

Remarkably, Djokovic won Eastbourne without dropping a set and did not permit a set through his first four rounds of Wimbledon. But the three-time Wimbledon champion was gritting his teeth and grimacing during medical time-outs he took in his straight sets win over Adrian Mannarino.

In the quarterfinals, a clearly compromised Djokovic retired while trailing Tomas Berdych, 7-6 2-0. 

The 30-year-old Serbian said multiple doctors and specialists advise him rest is the only remedy for his elbow injury.

“This is one of those injuries where nothing can really help instantly,” Djokovic said. “You just have to allow natural rehabilitation to take its course. Professionally, this is obviously not an easy decision for me. But I’m trying to look from the positive side of everything.”

Djokovic and his wife Jelena, are expecting their second child in September.

The former world No. 1 said he plans to spend quality time with his family before beginning rehab. Djokovic said he will not pick up a racquet for about two months.

“I believe everything in life happens for a reason,” Djokovic said. “So I’ll try to use this time as best as I can to obviously spend quality time with my family. In about a month, a month-and-half time, hopefully Jelena, and I, with God’s help, will become parents again.

“Obviously, I will take this time to heal. To do all the different suggested methods of rehabilitation and healing processes so I can get back on the court ASAP. It will take a couple of months without the racquet. I hope after that I can start to train. I’m looking forward to build my body, my game, my team as well.”

The six-time Australian Open champion also announced he will continue his partnership with coach Andre Agassi upon his return to the pro circuit in 2018.

“I’m happy to share that Andre Agassi is committed to stay with me next year,” Djokovic said. “I want to thank Andre for being with me this year and obviously sharing his experiences and wisdom. I’m looking forward to get back on the practice court with him and of course having him in the box for any big tournament.

“Lastly, I’m very grateful. That’s probably the strongest emotion that I’m feeling lately even though as I said professionally it’s not an easy thing to swallow. I have never faced this particular situation before in my life. I haven’t skipped any big tournament… I was blessed to have a lot of success and I’m very grateful for that. I’m also very grateful that I kept my body very healthy throughout the years. I haven’t had many big injuries." 

Djokovic said he plans to work diligently on his game, hopes to come back at full strength and plans to play at least five more years.

"It’s completely new circumstances for me," Djokovic said. "I’m trying to look at it from a brighter side... God knows I really want to play professional tennis for many years to come.”


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