No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic was hoping to reclaim the No. 1 spot at Wimbledon, but his plans were crossed by injury. Djokovic was forced to retire from his quarterfinal match against 11th seed Tomas Berdych at 6-7(2) 0-2 with an elbow injury. The Serb’s serve was noticeably slower than usual, and Berdych was generally outplaying him. Djokovic took a medical timeout after the first set, and after he went a break down in the second, he shook hands and retired from the match. Djokovic had cruised through the tournament without losing a set up to this point, so the injury came as a surprise. It was even more surprising when Djokovic revealed he has been struggling with the injury for a long time.
Berdych, will play back-to-back semifinals at Wimbledon for the first time in his career. Berdych will face the main favorite Roger Federer next. The Czech is looking to reach his second ever Grand Slam final. The first was at Wimbledon 2010, where Berdych lost to Rafael Nadal in straight sets.
After Djokovic’s press conference followed questions in Serbian. These were the ones that he didn’t really tell the English-speaking media. According to sport.blic.rs (a Serbian sports site), Djokovic had this to say: “It is clear that I will have to change the tournament schedule. I still do not know if I will have to have surgery. I’ve never felt this pain for so long. It’s coming and going. The more I play, it’s worse. I’m thinking about a pause.” (Translated via Google Translate and edited by author)
Freelance journalist Danielle Rossingh also tweeted:
Novak Djokovic, in Serbian: "maybe i will miss half a year playing." Sounds like won't make US Open.
— Danielle Rossingh (@DRossingh) July 12, 2017
Djokovic also said the following to the English-speaking press:
“It’s not the shoulder. It’s the elbow that already keeps bothering for over a year and a half actually. It’s unfortunate that I had to finish Wimbledon, Grand Slam, this way. I mean, if someone feels bad about it, it’s me. But, you know, I tried. I tried what I could do from yesterday, you know, to get it in the condition where I’m able to play. I was able maybe, you know, for 30 minutes to play with some pain that was bearable, let’s call it that way. All the treatments and medicaments [sic] couldn’t really help. The serve and forehand were the shots where I could feel it the most. Just after that, there was really no sense.”
“I mean, the specialists that I’ve talked with, they haven’t been really too clear, mentioning also surgery, mentioning different options. Nobody was very clear in what needs to be done. As long as it kind of comes and goes, it’s fine. But obviously, adding up, maybe it worked for seven, eight, ten months, but now the next seven months is not working that great. Obviously, it’s adding up more and more. The more I play, the worse it gets. Yeah, I guess the break is something that I will have to consider right now.”
It is yet to be determined how the 12-time Grand Slam champion will deal with this injury. Will it virtually end his career? Or will it revive his career and get him back to winning Slams a la Roger Federer?