Dominic Thiem
Dominic Thiem (R) has backed Novak Djokovic to emulate Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and make a similar comeback Getty


  • Djokovic has not played since his loss in the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in July this year.
  • The Serb will return to action at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships starting on 28 December.

Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Stan Warinka, Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic are among the players returning from a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to injury.

All these players have missed most of the 2017 campaign due to injury and are on course to making a comeback in different tournaments as the season commences in January.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer were the two comeback players this year owing to their injury struggles in 2016 and both of them made phenomenal comebacks winning a combined 13 titles and ending the year as the world number one and two respectively.

It remains to be seen if any of the players coming back can emulate the two veterans and get straight back to winning ways. Dominic Thiem, who ended the year as the world number five, believes Djokovic is the only player who can hope to have a comeback similar to that of his long-time rivals Nadal and Federer.

The Belgian made the semi-finals at Roland Garros, the final at the Barcelona Open and the Madrid Masters and was the only player in 2017 to register wins over Nadal and Federer. He believes the Serbian, who is returning from an elbow injury, is more "dangerous and better" than the top two ranked players and can do better than what they did on their comebacks this year.

Djokovic will return to action at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships starting on 28 December.

"I think we can expect the same (from Djokovic) because he is I think in the same league like Roger and Rafa, also one of the greatest players of all-time," Thiem said about Djokovic, as quoted by Sport 360.

"I think he's even probably more dangerous and better, if his injury is fine and if he had some time to recharge everything. I think everybody wants to know how he's playing again and we'll see his first matches here."

The younger generation of players coming through namely Thiem, Jack Sock (world number eight), Alexander Zverev (four) and David Goffin(seven) benefited owing to the injuries sustained by top 10 regulars Wawrinka, Raonic, Nishikori and Berdych.

Murray and Djokovic have also dropped out of the top 10. However, Thiem believes that other than Djokovic, those returning from injury could find it difficult to get back to their best right from the start of the season.

"For sure it's going to be tough to stay in the top 10 or to get there like last year because of all the injured players but still I think we all had a good year and also for them it's not going to be easy," Thiem explained.

"Some of them were out for a long time. Maybe Novak, but I think nobody else will make a comeback like Roger and Rafa, it's too tough I guess. So I think everybody can look forward to a great and tense start of the season."