Novak Djokovic warns Andy Murray of mental battle ahead of return

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic

As Andy Murray prepares to make his long-awaited comeback, Novak Djokovic has warned the Scot that he needs to conquer the mental battle if he is to get back to the top.

Three-time Grand Slam winner Murray hasn’t played any competitive tennis since Wimbledon last year due to a long-standing hip injury, but he is set to make his comeback at the Fever-Tree Championship this week.

Djokovic himself is only just starting to find form again after he also missed the backend of the 2017 season as well as several weeks at the start of this year due to an elbow injury.

The Serb admits that it takes time before you get comfortable again.

“I think the biggest challenge will always be mental,” he told British media. “How to get it out of your head, understand that it’s behind you, that you’re fine now, that you’re healthy and you can focus on your game rather than thinking 50 percent of the time about whether or not something can happen.”

He added: “I’ve faced myself this major injury that got me off the court for six-plus months, surgery and so forth. You feel the consequences of that more mentally than physically.

“I never knew that it was going to take so much time for me really to get back into that state of mind where I’m comfortable, where I’m confident, where I’m confident with my game, with the changes I made. But it is what it is, and it’s a new experience and I’m open for that and obviously I have to embrace it.”

Another thing that Murray needs to keep in mind is the fact that his return will be on grass, which could make his life even trickier.

“The one thing – again, I don’t know the state of his hips – that could be a bit dangerous is slipping on the grass,” Djokovic said.

“That’s something that is very unpredictable and grass is always this kind of surface where one wrong footing can make something go wrong, especially in the hips. I just hope for his sake that doesn’t happen.”