Novak Djokovic while getting set to make his first appearance on a match court since Wimbledon in July at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship this weekend in Abu Dhabi, spoke about his injury and the effects it had on him.
The 12-time Grand Slam champion, who has not played in a competitive match since retiring from his Wimbledon quarter-final against Tomas Berdych after struggling with an elbow issue for a year and six months, admitted it was not easy to be absent for so long, but looks to draw positives from the experience upon his return.
Speaking to Sport 360, the 30-year-old said, “It’s been a really roller coaster ride for me for a year and a half with this issue. I’ve never had surgery in my life, I’ve never had any major injuries that kept me away from the tour for such a long time. Never missed a Grand Slam in my professional career. It was a big decision, a big call to make.
“And I could not make that call for a long time until I got to the point where the universe just sent me something, that it was inevitable for me. I couldn’t play anymore, there was no choice. It was like, that’s it, you can’t lift your arm.”
Although, the Serb is now fully recovered, he says his time away from tennis was tough, but believes he’s learned a lot.
“I’ve learned a lesson because I really want to avoid getting to that stage of an injury ever in my career after this,’ he added. “And it was a great lesson to learn to be honest. It was not easy for me to be absent for so long.
“I can’t wait to get back on the competition level but it was a great experience for me to have. And it was a somewhat necessary experience because I got maybe too comfortable with not having major injuries,” he said.
Djokovic joins Dominic Thiem, Kevin Anderson, Pablo Carreno Busta, Roberto Bautista Agut and Andrey Rublev at the MWTC in Abu Dhabi this weekend. This will be the Serb’s fourth Abu Dhabi appearance, where he is a three-time champion.