Novak Djokovic has further delayed his competitive return to international tennis after opting to skip the Qatar ExxonMobil Open tournament in Doha that kicks off next week. It was suggested by his medical team after his long road to recovery from the elbow injury didn't pan out as expected.
Djokovic has been sidelined since dropping out of the Wimbledon quarter-final stage this year. The persistent elbow injury has kept the Serbian ace out of the limelight ever since, with his medical team opting to be cautious and not rush him back to the international stage.
The 30-year-old had won the Qatar Open last year and expressed his disappointment at not being able to participate in the tournament this time, which is considered to be a warm-up to January’s Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of 2018.
"Unfortunately, the situation with the elbow has not changed for better since yesterday. I still feel the pain. Therefore, I will have to withdraw from ATP tournament in Doha," said Djokovic in the statement on his website.
"I am sorry that I will not be able to play in front of my fans here. I have great memories of this tournament and the matches I played, like the final against Murray from last year."
Djokovic would hope to recover just in time for the season's big opener that begins on January 16 and get back to winning ways as soon as possible.