Caveat: There has been no official word from Novak Djokovic himself.
But according to Serbian media, Davis Cup physician Zdeslav Milinković, who also is an orthopaedic surgeon and a friend of the former No. 1, has examined the country’s star player and said he will need six to 12 weeks off.
Dr. Milinković said Djokovic, who made a trip to Toronto, Canada last week to be examined by a specialist, has a bone bruise in the elbow. He considers it an overuse injury. He also said that the symptoms had calmed down somewhat from Wimbledon.
Djokovic can do fitness, but not put a racket in his hand while he undergoes treatment. Dr. Milinković added that the next examination would either maintain that time frame, or modify it.
Big tournaments upcoming
If this is accurate – and a Djokovic press conference in Belgrade is to take place this week – the current world No. 4 not only would miss the Masters 1000 tournaments in Montreal and Cincinnati, but also the US Open.
Serbia also has the Davis Cup semifinals against France right after the US Open.
The bad news can’t be considered a surprise.
Retiring during a match at a Grand Slam isn’t something a top player does without careful consideration and a fair bit of pain.
And Djokovic’s arm issues have been visible, off and on, at least as far back as the Summer Olympics in Rio a year ago.
Is he gone until 2018?
The question remains, if the recommendations are accurate and Djokovic expresses his intention to follow the medical advice, will he simply decide to pull the ripcord on 2017?
To do all that work and come back for a few big late-season tournaments in Asia (granted, they are among his favorites and he’s hugely popular there) and risk compromising the start of 2018 is a dilemma Djokovic will have to wrestle with.
The Serb is currently No. 7 in the race to the ATP Tour Finals. But if he misses out on a potential 4,000 ranking points between Montreal, Cincy and the US Open, that point likely will be moot.