Novak Djokovic's worrying development ahead of Roland Garros

The World No.1 had made the startling announcement ahead of the tournament.

Novak Djokovic during a press conference and Djokovic training at the Srpska Open.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) has made the worrying reveal he is struggling with an elbow injury ahead of the French Open. (Images: Getty Images/Twitter)

Novak Djokovic has made the worrying reveal he is struggling with an elbow injury following his shock exit in the third round of the Monte Carlo Masters last week. Djokovic is set to take part in the Srpska Open this week in Bosnia and Herzegovina only a week after his return to tennis.

Having missed the US hard court campaign, Djokovic returned as World No.1 to Monte Carlo but suffered a shock exit at the hands of Italian Lorenzo Musetti in his second match. The 22-time grand slam champion was in no mood after his exit and was bristling in his press conference.

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One week later and Djokovic has addressed the media ahead of his return to the tournament, but the 34-year-old revealed he isn't in top shape as he battles an elbow injury. "My elbow is not in an ideal shape but good enough to be ready for the first match," Djokovic told reporters ahead of the tournament.

"One of the good things in tennis is that you get new opportunity to prove your worth every week and take a step forward. I've turned over a new leaf.

"Naturally, I wasn't satisfied with the result in Monte Carlo. But, ever since I landed, I've felt welcomed in Banja Luka, a lot of positive energy and positive emotions."

This would worry Djokovic fans considering the Serbian has struggled with an elbow injury in the past that kept him off the tour for some time.

In 2017, Djokovic retried in the quarter-final of Wimbledon due to an elbow injury. He announced he would miss the US Open and the remainder of the season to rest his troubled elbow for five months.

The elbow pain hampered Djokovic's ability to serve and he was forced to take time away. Upon his return at the Australian Open, Djokovic required elbow surgery after being eliminated in 2018.

Tennis fans reacted with some concern over his injury with the World No.1 attempting to become the first man to ever reach 23 grand slam titles.

Carloz Alcaraz returns with Barcelona Open win

While concerns grow over Djokovic's injury, Spanish World No.2 Carlos Alcaraz has returned after missing the Monte Carlo Open in great form to defeat Nuno Borges in straight sets. The 19-year-old Spaniard surprised fans when announcing his withdrawal - alongside Rafa Nadal - from the Monte Carlo Masters.

Alcaraz has returned in 2023 in scintillating form having reclaimed the World No.1 ranking along with titles at Indian Wells and the Argentina Open. The 19-year-old phenom may have lost the No.1 ranking again to Djokovic before Monte Carlo and won't be able to regain the position because he is the defending champion in Barcelona.

He is in the same situation next week at the Madrid Open. However, the Spaniard said he is back to his best condition at the event and will be looking to gain momentum leading into the French Open.

Novak Djokovic speaks to reporters.
Novak Djokovic (pictured) announced he is battling an elbow injury ahead of the Srpska Open. (Photo by Miomir Jakovljevic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images) (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

"Physically, I feel very good. I have been preparing to give 100 per cent to play the best possible and I'm really looking forward to playing here in Barcelona," he said before the tournament. Alcaraz also said he isn't thinking about the pressure of defending the title, but rather building momentum in his first clay court tournament of the season.

“We’ll be thinking about everything, apart from defending the title,” he said. “Barcelona is a place I love playing in, where I have really amazing memories, not just from last year, but also from playing when I was young.

"I’m going to try and avoid that pressure to defend the title. I’m a player who looks at the route to the final, but only briefly. But my focus is on the first round, and it will stay there until I’ve played it."

Alcaraz will head into the French Open as one of the strong favourites alongside Djokovic. He plays fellow Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the next round in Barcelona.

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