World No4 Novak Djokovic has ruled himself out of the rest of the season, insisting he needs extended rest to heal the elbow injury that led to his premature exit at Wimbledon.
It means that Djokovic will miss next month’s US Open, bringing to an end the Serb’s sequence of 51 consecutive appearances at grand slams, of which he won 12.
The 30-year-old, who retired hurt from his last-eight clash with Tomas Berdych when a set and a break down at Wimbledon earlier this month, plans to return in tome for the Australian Open in January.
“Unfortunately this is the decision that had to be made at this moment,” said Djokovic, who will also miss the year-end ATP World Tour Finals in London.
“Wimbledon was the toughest tournament for me in terms of feeling the pain that has escalated. I have consulted many of the doctors and specialists in the last 12 to 15 months, and especially the last couple of months when I felt the injury was getting worse.
“They all agree I need rest, I need time. This is one of those injuries where nothing can really help instantly. You have to allow natural rehabilitation to take its course.”
Djokovic’s decision comes after Wimbledon champion Roger Federer rediscovered grand slam winning form following lengthy spells out of the game to recover from persistent injuries.
Federer, 35, capitalised on taking off the last five months of 2016 to nurse a knee problem by winning his first major title for five years at the Australian Open.
The Swiss followed it with another, his eighth men’s singles title at Wimbledon, this summer.