Novak Djokovic and his Recovery
Unfortunately for Novak Djokovic, taking most of 2017 to heal his elbow and also to regroup mentally may not have been the best course of action. He has now needed a medical intervention on the elbow that has been bothering him for some time, which has led him to change his service motion. Here’s a good look at the transformation of his serve. As you can tell, he’s made the motion a lot more compact, to prevent further injury and/or discomfort.
Novak doesn’t have a return date set, although he is committed to playing Indian Wells in March. That may be a little optimistic given how rehab after a medical intervention goes. Unfortunately for Djokovic, these are prime windows he’s missing out on, where he could be challenging for Grand Slams. He’s at his prime at the age of 30, and instead of contesting Grand Slams, he’s spent a whole year rehabbing and reflecting, all the while Federer and Nadal are cleaning up on more Grand Slams.
There was a time when people were arguing that Novak would end up with the Grand Slam record and be considered the GOAT. By the end of 2016 Novak had 12 grand slams to his name at the age of 28, Nadal had 14, and Federer had 17. Novak had been almost unbeatable during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, participating in seven grand slam finals and winning five. There was no reason to believe he was slowing down. How times quickly change.
Unfortunately for Novak, his health has betrayed him. He sits at 12 Grand Slams while both Nadal and Federer sit at 16 and 20 respectively. Imagine if he would have been healthy. There is reason to believe Nadal and Federer could still be at 14 and 17, while Novak could be healthy, ripping up the tour, and sitting at 15-16 grand slams.
It’s very unfortunate it had to play out this way, and it would be great for tennis to see Novak come back and add to his legacy. Unfortunately, not being 100% for both 2017 and 2018 will ultimately hurt his legacy.
One can argue that staying healthy and injury free is part of being great. If that’s the case, then all the credit can go to Roger Federer, who has been as healthy and consistent as they come. Let’s pray for a quick recovery for Novak, as his greatness is truly missed on the men’s tour.