Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic is looking to turn his fortunes around in the 2018 season Getty

Novak Djokovic's adviser Pepe Imaz believes the Serbian's elbow injury earlier in the year could be a blessing in disguise ahead of his return to action.

Djokovic started the year as the number two ranked player in the world behind Andy Murray as he began his campaign with a win over the Briton to triumph in Doha.

However, things started to go downhill for the former world number one as poor performances and injuries hindered his year, winning just two ATP titles, having previously won at least six titles every year since 2010.

His last appearance came at Wimbledon in July where he retired early on in his quarter-final match with Tomas Berdych due to an elbow injury. He later announced that he would take time off until the new season.

Now set to return for the Mubadala World Tennis Championship exhibition tournament, which takes place from 28-30 December, Imaz believes the timing of his injury was perfect.

"His body needed a break. He didn't have any mental setback throughout his career," Imaz said, as quoted on Tennis World USA. "He came to a climax, but he kept trying it but he couldn't achieve more.

"This injury will help him to take a rest and get refreshed."

The 12-time Grand Slam winner has received a lot of criticism throughout the year with many believing that he will not come back the same player that won all four Grand Slams consecutively back in 2016.

Imaz hit back at the critics before adding that they have no effect on Djokovic.

"Instead of being looked up to for setting an example, Djokovic is being criticised because he is walking on the path of love," Imaz added. "But, these critics have waited for his form to drop to criticise him for what he is doing.

"He says: 'Who am I to judge what others say? They have all the right in the world'...I tell him either he can hit me with a punch or we can say 'I do not share their opinion, but I respect it'. That does not affect you, it does not hurt you.

"He knows that some things are not true and as he accepts himself, he is freer and does not worry about what others think."

Djokovic is confirmed for the 2018 Australian Open and will look to rise in the ATP tennis rankings as he will begin the season at number 12.