Novak Djokovic has suggested he will take a break from tennis to address the long-running elbow injury that forced him to retire from Wimbledon.
The three-time champion at SW19 trailed Tomas Berdych 6-7 0-2 on Wednesday (12 July) before finally deciding to bring his campaign to a bleak end, continuing a miserable run of form that now dates back over a year. Djokovic received treatment on his right elbow at the end of the first set, having also struggled with the injury during his last 16 victory over Adrian Mannarino.
Speaking after the defeat, the former world number one revealed he has consulted a number of specialists over the last year, but received mixed signals from them on the severity of the problem. At this stage, the 30-year-old is still not sure whether the injury will require surgery, but suggests a break from the game now seems inevitable.
"The specialists that I've talked with haven't been really too clear, mentioning also surgery, mentioning different options," Djokovic said.
"Nobody was very clear in what needs to be done. I guess the break is something that I will have to consider right now. The more I play, the worse it gets. I guess a break is something that I will have to consider right now."
Djokovic added he "hasn't felt this much pain ever" since picking up the injury, which is at its worse during serve and when hitting forehands. A break could see the 12-time time Grand Slam winner miss the final major of the year, the US Open, which starts on 28 August in New York.
"I am just going to talk with specialists, as I have done in the last year or so, try to figure out what is the best way to treat it and to solve it, to find a long-term solution. Obviously short-term it is probably rest is most appropriate."
Djokovic was usurped as the world number one by Andy Murray last October amid a horrendous run of form that dates back to his defeat to Sam Querrey at Wimbledon last year. But following Murray's shock elimination to the American on Wednesday, the Serbian had the chance to move back to the summit of men's tennis if he were to leave SW19 with another title. His elimination however guarantees Murray's number one ranking for the rest of the month.