Written by By Staff Writer
Jelena Djokovic is likely to miss the Australian Open after the defending champion’s father revealed the Serb medical team recommended he not take part in the 2017 tournament due to a concerns over a possible polio vaccine — a claim later denied by the player himself.
The tennis star informed fans on his Instagram account late Thursday night that he’s injured again and will need to “take more time to recover.”
Djokovic had told iNews that he had suffered the latest setback in his quest to rediscover top form.
He is targeting a return to action at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship tournament in Abu Dhabi on December 1.
It follows a seven-month layoff after a tendon problem in his right elbow. His return was only a highly successful 10th final in Melbourne last year.
The 27-year-old Serb returned last month with a low-key tournament in Singapore in which he beat Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in straight sets in the opening round.
His son is known for being a science-conscious sportsman — he was famously filmed working out at the gym in 2014 and receiving his blood pressure readings over a monitor.
This year’s Australian Open, which starts January 15, is a crucial tournament for any top player as it goes hand-in-hand with the world rankings.
Djokovic shared his decision with his fans on Instagram, writing: “I am very sad and very disappointed to announce I’m currently injured and not yet ready to play.
“In the beginning of the year, I had several setbacks with my elbow. My doctors recommended rest and therapy so I could fully recover.
“Recently, I’ve been able to do some specific training activities, but due to the torn tendon I am unable to reach my potential.
“I’ve always respected the process of tournament rules and practices and I only showed up to tournaments when fully fit.
“I’m taking this step so I can get healthy, get back to my winning ways and get ready for the important events.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists polio, also known as oral polio, as one of the world’s most serious childhood infections, with the virus known to cause permanent paralysis if it enters the body through the mouth.
The height of its epidemic was from 1955 to 1976 when it caused more than 650,000 cases — 32% of which led to death — and 3,000 deaths in the UK.
Many countries globally were declared polio-free in 1988 following concerted global action to eradicate the disease, according to the WHO website.
A Swiss newspaper reported Friday that Djokovic’s father said the tennis player received a polio vaccine as a child.
Sebastian Djokovic, the elder of Novak’s parents, told Saturday’s 20 Minuten that his son got his “herpes” treatment in the later years of 2014 and 2015.
But he said the news was incorrect that his son has developed a polio-related infection.
“This means he’s a polio victim, as we understand,” he told the German-language newspaper.