Novak Djokovic to miss US Open, rest of season to heal from elbow injury

Novak Djokovic will miss the rest of the 2017 season, including the US Open, due to an elbow injury that forced him to withdraw from Wimbledon during his quarterfinal match against Tomas Berdych. Djokovic, 30, announced he is taking a  "prolonged break" on his website, due to a bone bruise. Djokovic has struggled in the past year, and this break has been talked about in tennis circles for some time.

Although it felt like an inevitability, it seems to be as much about refinding his game as the injury. Roger Federer took a bit of a sabbatical earlier this year, and we might see this become a trend among bigger tennis stars. For Djokovic, a winner of 12 Grand Slam singles titles, including two US Opens,  it appears to be about getting healthy both mentally and physically as efficiently as possible.

In his statement, Djokovic was somber but optimistic. "I will take this time to heal and do all the different suggested methods of rehabilitation and healing processes so I can get back on the court as soon as possible," he said. "It will take a couple of months at least without a racket and I hope after that I can start to train. I'm looking forward to building my body and my game and my team."

Earlier in July, Federer warned Djokovic about the potential perils of extended breaks. "For me it worked out. Doesn't mean it's going to work out for everybody," he said. However, he added: "But sometimes maybe the body and the mind do need a rest. Who knows. You just want to take that decision early enough or see it coming and anticipate."

Novak Djokovic's elbow pain forced an exit in the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Getty Images

Djokovic clearly believes that the latter quote is true. "I haven't skipped any big tournament," he said. "I have played all the grand slams and probably 90 percent of the 1000 Masters series events. I was blessed to have a lot of success. I'm grateful for that. But I'm also very grateful that I kept my body very healthy throughout the years. I haven't had too many injuries and especially no big injuries like this one that would keep me away from the tour for longer than a month."

It appears that, at 30, Djokovic believes that everyone needs a break at some point in their careers. Djokovic has played every Grand Slam event since the 2005 Australian Open, when he made his first appearance. Amid all of this, Djokovic has made it very clear that he's not near the end of his storied career.

"It's a new experience for me, new circumstances, but I'm trying to look at it from a brighter side," he said. "I have time where I can dedicate myself to healing and building up my body and strength and focusing on certain elements of my game that I never had time to work on. Now I have time to perfect it and build the foundations for the next five years or more. I really want to play professional tennis for years to come."

Have no fear tennis fans, despite this break, it looks like for now the Big Four will remain intact come 2018.

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