Novak Djokovic who retired down a set and a break to Tomas Berdych at Wimbledon, says he may have to take a break from competition.
The Serb confirmed the injury was an elbow problem, saying, “It’s the elbow that already keeps bothering for over a year-and-a-half, actually.”
Djokovic was playing for the second day in a row, having had his fourth-round match delayed on Monday.
“I tried what I could do from yesterday, you know, to get it in the condition where I’m able to play. I was able maybe, you know, for 30 minutes to play with some pain that was bearable,” he said. “I spend probably about two hours, two-and-a-half hours, today on the table in between the warm-up and match, trying to do everything I possibly could to, you know, make me fit.
“It was only increasing as the days went by. Actually, I started feeling it already, more or less, at the beginning of the tournament. Probably the fact that I played yesterday; kind of days adding up, you know, as I’ve said before, it wasn’t helping at all.”
Djokovic said the problem affected him while serving and hitting the forehand, and while he has had the injury before, it had never been so painful that he had to retire.
With different doctors providing different opinions, Djokovic said he could take some time off tour but had not decided what to do about the elbow.
“I guess the break is something that I will have to consider right now,” he said.
Having been the tour’s dominant player for the previous few seasons, Djokovic has now dropped to No. 4 and agreed that his success could have contributed to physical wear and tear.
“It’s not easy to kind of play on the highest level throughout the entire season, then be able to do that over and over again every season, and then stay healthy,” he said.
The injury was frustrating because he was finally finding his form, Djokovic added.
“I played great,” he said. “I haven’t dropped any set in Eastbourne coming into quarterfinals today. Felt really good on the court.”
Djokovic did not say whether he plans to play a regular hard-court schedule.