Media playback is not supported on this device Australian Open: Djokovic confirms he needs medical scan on elbow
Novak Djokovic will need to be vaccinated before competing at the Australian Open after confirming he needs a medical scan on his elbow.
The 29-year-old lost in straight sets to Czech Tomas Berdych in the third round of the Cincinnati Masters on Saturday.
The Serb has admitted he needs an operation after having “serum injections” to deal with an injury that has prevented him from competing in 10 months.
Djokovic has withdrawn from this week’s Rogers Cup in Toronto.
He told a press conference he will head to Australia “somewhere between the first and second week of January”, after getting a flu jab, and needs two weeks to recover from the medical examination.
It was announced last year that the former world number one had undergone elbow surgery.
Djokovic has had to sit out the French Open and Wimbledon – where he was beaten in the third round by South African eighth seed Kevin Anderson – this year, but had hoped to secure a place in the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London in November.
The eight-man event, held at the O2 Arena from 22 to 26 November, includes defending champion Andy Murray.
Murray added that he was “absolutely shocked” by the news of Djokovic’s elbow problems.
The former world number one, 29, withdrew from his tournament in Munich this week to continue his recovery from a hip injury.
He said he had “always supported and been a big fan” of Djokovic’s and is “a great guy”, but added that he was “disappointed for him personally and his fans who have always followed him and supported him”.
Media playback is not supported on this device Davis Cup news: Djokovic joins John Isner, Sam Querrey as all-American squad
The Australian Open is the only Grand Slam which does not require players to be licensed before competing.
The tournament is scheduled to begin on 18 January in Melbourne.
Former BBC tennis correspondent Jonathan Overend:
“Djokovic’s injury problems have happened in a regular tennis schedule which he initiated himself.
“That schedule in turn has been designed to get him an opportunity to rest at the end of the season and enter the world’s biggest tournaments.
“So an overly ambitious schedule cannot be blamed for the chronic injuries that have constantly afflicted the 2013 French Open champion.
“It was a wise approach, but one that now seems to have proved ill-conceived.
“Under normal circumstances, the Australian Open is the preferred venue for a player going under the knife.
“Djokovic has no choice but to withdraw from those matches at the moment, as Murray is heading in the same direction.
“Of course there are other considerations. The Serb, and his sports doctor, need to ensure he is raring to go to the Australian Open when it does next hit the news.
“Obviously the slam season is already at a loss without him, but the resurgence of Murray and a potential ending of the current world number one Rafael Nadal’s lengthy dominance at the last major of the year could provide the missing element.”
Serbia’s world number four Ana Ivanovic has criticised Djokovic for admitting he needs an operation, saying that “proper care should have been taken before that”.
Ivanovic won her only Grand Slam title at the French Open in 2008, and is now 39th in the rankings.
Asked about the issue, she told BBC Radio 5 live: “My opinion really is I’d really hope all players have the proper care before they make any decisions.
“I don’t think any athlete should be speaking about anything they go through before it’s done.
“He’s already going to spend more time out than he should. I would hope he had the best amount of preparation. It is such a delicate decision to make.”