Two days after Novak Djokovic announced he would not be playing on the men’s side of the draw at the 2017 Australian Open, the Serbian tennis star still has not said what might have caused him to miss the year’s first grand slam, one of the biggest tournaments on the tennis calendar.
In some circles, it was said that the player had been struggling physically, with tennis experts insisting he had lost sharpness during key moments of his games during Wimbledon. But at a news conference in Melbourne on Wednesday, Djokovic said, “I’m not sure that’s the case. I’m not ready to commit one way or the other.”
The Serb was adamant, however, that his decision not to play had been made just 48 hours earlier, when he decided that he didn’t feel right after the Wimbledon quarterfinal loss to Rafael Nadal. He looked totally defeated as he smacked his racquet after Nadal won a marathon three-set match.
“I woke up feeling tired today in the morning, like I do most days,” Djokovic said. “I decided to take this moment to make a call, to call it, to have a medical consultation, to get some advice. It was a tough decision, but that’s the way I felt.”
When asked about the other factors that may have contributed to the decision, Djokovic described the threat of an infection as “a good reason.”
But there have been other suggestions, such as that the Serb might have had a slight fever last week, just ahead of the Wimbledon tournament. World No. 2 Andy Murray, who went down in straight sets in the quarterfinals to Kevin Anderson, revealed on Monday he had recently been treated for a bacterial infection, although he is reported to have fully recovered since.
It has also been suggested that Djokovic may have had an allergic reaction to a cortisone injection he received in 2015 for a shoulder problem.
Djokovic had been missing two other tournaments leading up to the Australian Open due to injuries. He withdrew from the Dell Open in San Jose in May, having won the title in three straight years. He also pulled out of the Swiss Indoors in Basel last month and said he was recovering from an elbow problem.
Of the possible reasons for his decision to miss the Australian Open, which starts on Jan. 15, Djokovic only said, “All of them, really.”
Djokovic did say that he did have a chance to play at the upcoming ATP World Tour Finals in London, but only at the end of the year.
Australian World No. 1 Andy Murray said on Thursday that Djokovic had made the right decision to pull out of the Open.
“I think it’s an extreme thing to come and try to defend a grand slam,” Murray said. “So he’s aware of that and obviously he’s planning for that in his mind, so that’s for sure. I think he had an easy decision today to not play. I think he’s going to be fresher than anybody for the end of the year and obviously with the finals in London he’s very aware of that.”