Novak Djokovic’s fitness has become a major concern in the run-up to the French Open, with the world No.1 forced to pull out of the Madrid Open this week with an elbow problem.
In the year An impressive early exit from his first two clay court tournaments in 2023 has affected Djokovic. He lost to Lorenzo Musetti in Monte-Carlo and then to compatriot Dusan Lajovic in Banja Luka.
In both losses, Djokovic was clearly troubled by an elbow problem, with his trademark consistency behind the court throwing up unexpected errors.
The elbow problem also appears to be affecting his serve, with Carlos Alcaraz installed as the favorite for the French Open by the bookies.
Djokovic’s fans are now waiting to see if their hero can compete at the top level of the upcoming Rome Masters and the images of him returning to the practice courts suggest that the Serbian will make a successful comeback.
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Djokovic has been at the Punta Romano tennis resort in Marbella and has been practicing without any support on his damaged elbow in the Spanish sun.
The reigning Wimbledon champion appears to be hitting the ball cleanly as he tries to make a decision on his involvement in Rome.
Djokovic told reporters after wearing an elbow brace during his matches in Banja Luka that he was «not in good shape» as he battled the pain to play in that event.
This is not the first time Djokovic has struggled with an elbow injury, and former coach Andre Agassi recalled the issue that precipitated the Serbian’s exit from camp.
The eagerness to avoid surgery and medical intervention by refusing to take the covid vaccine has been in evidence in the last two years and this position has been around for some time according to Agassi.
«I only knew him with his injured elbow, so it was always a patch and a big problem,» Agassi recalled. “I think there was real hope that the elbow could heal naturally, completely.
“I personally was not in favor of that choice. You can’t force a person when it comes to their own body, you have to understand your hesitation, but health is an act of taking care of your body, making tough decisions, giving it time and moving forward methodically. I don’t take a break in my estimation.
«When I saw the results of the MRI in August, I was very clear with him: I immediately supported surgery, because it could end the case once and for all.»
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