Tuesday 20 February 2018 / 10:44 PM


Novak Djokovic is likely to miss the final grand slam of the year because of a lingering elbow injury.

Serbian Davis Cup doctor Zdeslav Milinkovic told Serbian newspaper Sportski Zurnal Djokovic would make a statement on his future on Wednesday.

The former world No.1 has bone bruising in his right elbow, which could take up to 12 weeks to heal and would effectively rule him out of the upcoming US Open.

But the silver lining is that he will not require surgery.

Djokovic was forced to retire hurt during his campaign for a fourth Wimbledon title earlier this month because of the injury. He reached the quarterfinal stage before succumbing to Tomas Berdych.

“He has a bruised bone due to excessive playing. He did not have enough of a pause,” Milinkovic told the Serbian newspaper in reference to Djokovic competing in Wimbledon so soon after triumphing in Eastbourne.

“Novak clenched his teeth and continued playing despite a serious injury. It was always a big concern for me as his friend.”

He added: “The minimum will be paused (sidelined) for six weeks, and it is possible that the recovery will last for 12 weeks.”

Djokovic is a two-time champion at the US Open, winning at Flushing Meadows in 2011 and 2015.

He reached the final  last year but couldn’t capitalise, losing to Stan Wawrinka in four sets.

Meanwhile, Djokovic’s absence from the US Open only strengthens Roger Federer’s hopes of adding to his ever-growing grand slam collection in a phenomenal 2017 revival.

Federer has enjoyed a spectacularly resurgent season after taking six months off the tour to focus on recovering from various injuries, including a back and knee concern.

He bounced back into action at the Australian Open at the start of the year, winding back the clock to set up a final showdown against Rafael Nadal.

After winning that battle and finally claiming his elusive 18th grand slam title, Federer opted to miss the clay court swing – including the French Open – in order to properly prepare for his Wimbledon pursuit.

It was another decision that ultimately paid dividends with the 35-year-old launching himself even higher into the grand slam stratosphere with his 19th major title and historic eighth at Wimbledon.

Not only did Federer become the first man in history to win eight Championships at the All England Club, he also surpassed his idol Pete Sampras to claim the unprecedented haul.

He also surged back into third on the world rankings and has his sights set on reclaiming the top spot.

Andy Murray currently sits at the peak, but he is only 2000 points ahead of Federer and a mere 300 in front of Nadal. He also has quarterfinal points to defend at the US Open, while Federer missed the event last year and Nadal bundled out in the round of 16.

Similar to Djokovic, Murray also has his own injury concerns to worry about. A hip ailment hindered his Wimbledon dream, significantly restricting his movement during his five-set loss to Sam Querrey in the quarterfinals.

But while he could also be in doubt for the US Open, it seems his rehabilitation is going well with Murray due to play at next month’s Canada Open to begin the North American swing.

But things may not be as positive for Djokovic. Missing the US Open could prove to be dire, as he has a substantial amount of rankings points to defend after his run to the final last year.

His ranking could also further slip if he misses the Canada Open, which he won in 2016.

But as with Federer, having the injury lay-off could prove to be the best thing in order to prolong Djokovic’s playing future.

“Symptoms have calmed down, he was with a specialist in Toronto for additional tests,” Milinkovic said.

“He also consulted our experts. Now it’s important to look at the different types of procedures that can affect recovery.”

Djokovic will make an announcement today.

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Alyssia Varricchio

Alyssia Varricchio is a sports reporter, journalist and producer based in Melbourne.

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