Novak Djokovic unlikely to return to action before clay season as there ‘is no need to take any risks’

Novak Djokovic in pain

He has not officially pulled out of the Miami Open, but it is unlikely that Novak Djokovic will feature in the ATP Masters 1000 event with his coach Goran Ivanisevic saying there is no need for him to rush his return.

World No 1 Djokovic sustained an abdominal injury en route to winning his ninth Australian Open title, but during his post-final press conference he admitted that the tear worsened during the tournament and he is likely to take an extended period off.

The 18-time Grand Slam winner was initially expected to make his comeback at the Miami Open, which starts on March 22, but it now looks like he won’t return to action before the clay-season, which gets underway in April.

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When Ivanisevic was by Tennis Majors if it is realistic to say that Djokovic will only play again during the clay season, he replied: “It is realistic, yes. Now it depends on the injury as well, but there is no need to rush it.

“The only tournament that he would play is maybe Miami. I think his next MRI is in two weeks, so we will see. There is no need to take any risks, I would rather see him one hundred per cent ready for the clay season in order to try to go after the Roland-Garros title once more.”

Djokovic recently revealed that he will make changes to his schedule as he looks to surpass Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal’s tally of 20 Grand Slams.

Ivanisevic, though, says the tweaks won’t lead to a major reduction in the number of tournaments he plays every year.

“If you look at his schedule in the last five or six years, it is not as if he was playing a bunch of tournaments,” he said. “I do not think one can focus on Slams only since you need to have good preparation and a positive feeling going into the Slam. For instance, Novak was feeling great about himself before the Australian Open because of the two tough matches he had at the ATP Cup.

“I am sure that he will play a couple of tournaments on clay before Roland-Garros, one grass tournament before Wimbledon and then there are Olympics before the US Open. We will see about indoors, but on a yearly level, he might play two or three tournaments less, which is not a significant change.”

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