Novak Djokovic gives injury update as he admits he is ‘not in ideal shape’

Shahida Jacobs
Novak Djokovic during a match
Novak Djokovic in action

There remains an injury cloud over Novak Djokovic ahead of his return to action at the Srpska Open, but the world No 1 is confident that he has “turned over a new leaf” following his shock defeat last week.

Following more than a month on the sidelines as he was unable to play at the Indian Wells Open and Miami Open in the United States due to his unvaccinated status, Djokovic finally returned to action at the Monte Carlo Masters.

After a solid workout on the clay during his opening-round win over Ivan Gakhov, the heavy favourite came unstuck against Lorenzo Musetti as he went down 6-4, 5-7, 4-6 against the Italian in the third round.

The 22-time Grand Slam was troubled by an elbow problem during the match, but he refused to give any detail about the problem after the match simply saying “I cannot say anything. I’m okay. I’m fine” later adding “I’m not really in the mood to speak”.

He has had some time off to recuperated and, although he is feeling refreshed mentally ahead of his opening match at the ATP 250 event in Banja Luka, he admits his elbow is not 100%.

“My elbow is not in an ideal shape but good enough to be ready for the first match,” the tennis great said.

“One of the good things in tennis is that you get new opportunity to prove your worth every week and take a step forward. I’ve turned over a new leaf.

“Naturally, I wasn’t satisfied with the result in Monte Carlo. But, ever since I landed, I’ve felt welcomed in Banja Luka, a lot of positive energy and positive emotions.”

Djokovic will face 18-year-old Luca van Assche in the second round on Wednesday after the Frenchman upset veteran Stan Wawrinka 1-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 on Monday.

“I don’t know much about the young French player,” the top seed said.

“I thought Wawrinka would win the match. I saw (Van Assche) play but not for long, he is a real fighter, fast, it’s difficult to get past him. No one should be underestimated.”

Naturally Van Assche is excited about facing one of the greatest players in the history of the game.

“Novak is a true champion. Not only in tennis but in sports in general,” he said. “It will be an incredible match. I know I’ll have to give my all to win.”

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