Novak Djokovic: American law may stop Australian Open 2017 return

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic lifted his second Australian Open title in January

Novak Djokovic is likely to miss next year’s Australian Open over a new rule which bans players from injecting themselves during competition, says his father.

The 12-time Grand Slam champion, 32, underwent elbow surgery in February and a number of his rivals are working on alternative ways to treat their injury.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, who won the Paris Masters this week, uses IV drips and homeopathic remedies.

Djokovic’s father says the change “forces him to sit out next year’s Australian Open”.

His son added in the interview with the New York Times: “Everybody has to understand my way of dealing with problems. I have been doing this my whole life.

“I would love to play Grand Slams, Masters 1000s and qualifying events, but the relationship I have with medicine is not as good as my relationship with my coach or trainer. It’s not happening.”

In an email to BBC Sport, Medvedev said he was “glad to hear” that Djokovic is feeling better following the treatment he has been undergoing in Russia.

“It’s true, I was out for a while but am back practicing with my team and travelling a lot in the next few weeks,” he added.

Djokovic, who will move up to 10th in the world rankings after reaching the semi-finals of the Madrid Open this week, missed the US Open and also pulled out of the China Open last month.

He returns to action in Rome next week, and next month’s French Open.

Analysis

BBC tennis correspondent Russell Fuller

The ATP and WTA have seen a number of competing stars experience elbow problems recently, which could become a major issue for the 2018 Australian Open.

Djokovic’s mother Ana says the issue went from an elbow injury to something much more serious, and that doctors advised him to undergo a tennis elbow “operation”.

But Djokovic has chosen to continue working with a therapy known as hair transplants, although his father said the 20cm “miniport” he was carrying around is “so heavy it requires the use of a wheelie suitcase”.

Since that surgery, the Serb is “more composed” and “very optimistic” about a return to full fitness, says his father.

“He will get healthy and, of course, he would love to play at Wimbledon this year,” he added.

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