Twelve-times grand slam champion Novak Djokovic will miss the rest of the tennis season to recover from an elbow injury, the Serbian said on Wednesday.
The 30-year-old posted a video statement on Facebook in which he said he had decided to let heal the injury which caused him to retire during his Wimbledon quarter-final against Czech Tomas Berdych earlier this month.
“I’ve made a decision to not play any competitions or tournaments for the rest of the 2017 season,” Djokovic, down at number four in the world rankings for the first time since 2009, said. “It’s a decision that had to be made.”
Djokovic then told a news conference he had decided to take six months off after consulting doctors and specialists in Serbia and abroad.
“I have been dragging this injury for the past 18 months and it has escalated in the last month or two,” he said.
“It became very painful at Wimbledon, where unfortunately I had to retire against Berdych.”
He said surgery would not be necessary, however.
Djokovic has endured a dreadful 12 months on the court, losing all the grand slam titles he held simultaneously after winning the 2016 French Open. He also lost his world number one ranking to Andy Murray at the end of last year.
He also split with his entire coaching team in May, having parted with Boris Becker at the end of last year.
Djokovic faces a big fall in the rankings but said he would be back for the start of next year.
He conceded, however, that complacency had crept in after he won his maiden French Open title last year.
“That was the one I craved for because it was the only one missing from my grand slam collection,” he said.
“I have to admit that I wasn’t quite as poised after lifting the Roland Garros because I felt flat after all the exertions.
“I will definitely play in the first week of next season,” he said. “I have enough time to recover as the first tournament of 2018 is six months away.”