Novak Djokovic has announced he will not play for the rest of the 2017 season because of an elbow injury.
It means the 30-year-old will miss the final Grand Slam of the year, the US Open, an event he has won twice.
World number four Djokovic was forced to retire midway through his Wimbledon quarter-final with Tomas Berdych earlier this month because of the problem.
After the match, Djokovic said he had been feeling pain in his right elbow for over a year and half and the 12-time major champion had now decided to take the rest of the year off.
“I have made the decision to not play any tournaments for the rest of the 2017 season,” Djokovic said. “Unfortunately this is the decision that had to be made at this moment. Wimbledon was the toughest tournament for me in terms of feeling the pain that has escalated.
“I have consulted many of the doctors and specialists and various people from both ends of the medicine (profession) in the last 12 to 15 months, and especially the last couple of months when I felt the injury was getting worse.
“They all agree I need rest, I need time. This is one of those injuries where nothing can really help instantly. You have to allow natural rehabilitation to take its course.”
Missing the US Open next month will end Djokovic’s run of 51 consecutive Grand Slam appearances but the Serb has been well below his best in the past year.
After winning four consecutive major tournaments, Djokovic has now gone past the quarter-finals only once in his last five.
He began working with eight-time major champion Andre Agassi at the French Open in May and has confirmed the American will stay on his coaching team when he returns in 2018.
“I am looking forward to be honest to building my body, my game and my team as well. I am happy to share that Andre Agassi is committed to staying with me next year,” Djokovic said.
“I want to thank Andre for being with me this year and obviously sharing his experience and wisdom. I am looking forward to getting back on the practice courts with him and having him in the box in the big tournaments.”
Djokovic is expecting his second child with his wife Jelena within two months, and he’s choosing to look on the bright side of this injury-forced hiatus.
“I’m trying to look at everything from the positive side,” said Djokovic. “I believe that, obviously everything in life happens for a reason.
“So I’ll try to use this time as best as I can to spend quality time with my family. In about a month, a month and a half’s time, hopefully Jelena and I, with God’s help, will become parents again.
“And 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 at least without a racquet.”
Djokovic will drop a total of 3,740 points from now until the end of the year, since he won’t be able to defend his title at the Rogers Cup in Canada, nor his runner-up finish at the US Open and ATP World Tour Finals.
When he returns at the start of 2018, he will most likely be ranked outside the top-10 and potentially out of the top-15, depending on other players’ results. The last time Djokovic was ranked outside the top-10 was in March 2007.
In a press release sent from Djokovic’s camp, the Serb said: ““We’ve been speaking regularly. Andre was with me in Toronto and he helped me find doctors, specialists in treating elbow injuries. During this short period of time.
“We’ve been getting to know each other and building trust and understanding. He supports my decision to take a break, and remains my head coach. He is going to help me get back into shape and bounce back strong after the recovery period.”
The International Tennis Federation on Friday banned and fined Ilie Nastase over racist comments about Serena Williams’s unborn child, inappropriate behaviour towards Anne Keothavong and a member of the press, as well as a foul-mouthed Fed Cup tirade.
The Romanian ex-world No1 was in the ITF dock for his abusive behaviour as Romania’s Fed Cup captain in a tie with Britain in Bucharest in April.
The two-time Grand Slam winner is banned from all ITF competitions until December 2020, excluded from all ITF competitions excluding Grand Slams until December 2018, and fined $10,000.
The controversial 71-year-old was sensationally kicked out of the Fed Cup tie in the Romanian capital on the second day for his irrational conduct.
On the opening day he was overheard making disrespectful remarks about Williams’ unborn child.
“Let’s see what colour it (the baby) has. Chocolate with milk?,” he said in Romanian, remarks then reported widely internationally, including by a British female reporter who he then berated, describing her as “stupid” and “ugly”. He asked pregnant captain Keothavong for her room number, and directed other inappropriate comments towards her.
On day two he was escorted from the Constanta venue after swearing at the umpire as well as the British skipper and a visiting player.
He was heard to call Keothavong and British number one Johanna Konta “f****** bitches”.
Nastase has been charged with:
Part of Nastase’s defence in the charge related to his comments on Williams’ unborn child is that they were “intended as a joke and were misinterpreted” and that “he comes from a nation where racism is not ‘as delicate an issue as it may be in other parts of the world’. There is also no prior evidence of Mr. Nastase being racist; his friendships and partnerships with contemporaries such as Arthur Ashe and Yannick Noah stand as evidence to the contrary”.
Nastase did not deny the remarks he made to Keothavong but claims “he had no intention to emotionally or physically harm the members of the GB team” and that the fact he “made the requests in public, shows that they were intended as jokes to ‘reduce tension surrounding the Tie’ and to display a ‘friendliness’ towards the GB team”.
The commencement of the period of his suspension was deemed to be April 23, 2017, the date on which he was provisionally suspended.
Full details on the sanction can be found here.
Nick Kyrgios expects to regain full fitness before the US Open and is targeting a return to the tour at the Citi Open in Washington DC, which starts on July 29.
The Australian world No20 retired two sets into his Wimbledon first round against Pierre-Hugues Herbert due to a lingering hip injury and has been training and doing rehab work in Canberra to prepare for the upcoming North American hard-court.
Speaking on a visit to SCD American Vehicles in Queensland, Australia earlier this week, Kyrgios sounded optimistic about his physical condition and is confident he’ll be ready for the final Grand Slam of the season in New York next month.
“It’s one of my favourite tournaments, so I’m definitely going to be playing that,” Kyrgios said of the US Open.
“I’m working hard at the moment. Obviously just flew up for the day today, but I’ve been back home, putting my head down, doing all the right things to get healthy. I’m doing rehab every day, so I’m flying back after this, going back to Canberra and doing rehab every day.
“I’m aiming for Washington in a couple of weeks in the US, so if everything goes well and I keep doing it, there’s no reason why I can’t be playing healthy in the next couple of weeks.”
The 22-year-old will be joined by Dominic Thiem, Alexander “Sascha” Zverev, Lucas Pouille and Gael Monfils in the field in Washington DC, where he’ll be looking to get his season back on track after injury woes slowed down the strong momentum he had earlier in the year.
He is currently ranked 24 in the Race to London and is searching for a first title win in 2017.