Novak Djokovic’s return to form after injury offers some reassurances for Andy Murray

Tennis Features
Novak Djokovic celebrates

Novak Djokovic has become the latest member of the Big Four to win a Grand Slam following a poor run of form and a potentially career-threatening injury.

Few of the Serb’s 13 major titles will have felt as sweet as this one, after being written off by many and having admitted several moments of doubt, Djokovic has announced his return to the top of the game by winning arguably the greatest tournament in tennis.

He is back in the top 10 in the ATP rankings and he can only go further with no points to defend for the rest of the season, having taken a six-month break from the game after Wimbledon last year.

So why do we continue to write these great champions off? Roger Federer struggled badly in 2013 and failed to win a Grand Slam for nearly five years. Rafael Nadal looked like a shell of his former self in 2015, failing to win a clay court title for the first time in his career.

They have both returned to the top of the game, winning the previous six Grand Slams between them before Djokovic’s victory at Wimbledon.

Yes, you can point to the failings of the younger generation for not improving enough, but the way that Federer, Nadal and now Djokovic have overcome adversity is admirable.

It has been obvious over the last few years that since Djokovic won the 2016 French Open he had not been the same player. Shock defeats to players such as Sam Querrey and Dennis Istomin had become a worrying trend.

An elbow injury forced the Serb to pull out of a Wimbledon quarter-final against Tomas Berdych last year, before he decided to have surgery on the injury in February this year after it had failed to heal.

However, there has been a noticeable change in Djokovic’s fortunes over the past few months and since the re-appointment of his long-time coach and friend Marian Vajda back in April, things have gradually improved.

Many will point to him reaching the final at the Queen’s Club a few weeks ago, but it was obvious that things were starting to click during the clay-court season, particularly in Rome where he reached the semi-finals, pushing Nadal in a tight match.

Now like Federer and Nadal, Djokovic has returned to the top of the game and the other member of the Big Four, Andy Murray, can look on with some encouragement.

Yes, Murray has taken a longer period out of the game and is having to recover from a more serious injury than the others, but his performances upon his return at the Queen’s Club and Eastbourne have been encouraging.

A highly competitive match against Nick Kyrgios was followed by a superb win over an all be it equally injury ravaged Stan Wawrinka.

Murray didn’t feel fit enough to deal with the rigours of best of five set matches at Wimbledon, so decided to pull out, but he is set to begin his preparations for the US Open at the Washington Open at the end of the month.

Hopefully, like Novak, Rafa and Roger, Andy can return and prolong the greatest era in the history of men’s tennis.

Follow Isaac Seelochan on Twitter.

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