Sports

Djokovic not so 'electric'

World No. 1 admits he's not 100 per cent fit after undergoing shock-style treatment on wrist

Troubled by injury and a private matter that affected him at Wimbledon, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic concedes that time is against him as he prepares to end his Grand Slam season on a high at the US Open.

The Serb, aiming to win his 13th Grand Slam crown, is battling a left wrist injury which threatens to derail a 2016 campaign that began strongly with an Australian Open victory and saw him complete a career Grand Slam at the French Open in June.

After an early defeat at Wimbledon, Djokovic suffered his wrist injury before the Rio Olympics, where he was ousted in the first round by Argentina's Juan Martin del Portro.

"The wrist hasn't been in ideal shape for the last three-and-a-half weeks, but I'm doing everything in my power to make sure I'm as close to 100 per cent as possible during the course of this tournament, at least for the beginning of it," Djokovic said at Flushing Meadows yesterday morning (Singapore time).

"Sometimes, time is what you need as an athlete and, because the US Open is around the corner, I don't have too much time."

Djokovic disclosed that he had been having "electricity treatments" for the injury, which mainly affects his backhand.

"I've gotten better," said Djokovic, who takes on lanky Jerzy Janowicz of Poland in the first round.

"I'm just hoping that Monday, when the tournament starts, I'll be able to get close to the maximum of executing my backhand shot as possible."

After he was beaten in the third round at Wimbledon by American Sam Querrey, Djokovic said he was "not really" 100 per cent.

Yesterday morning, he described it as a personal issue.

"It was nothing physical, it was not an injury," the 29-year-old Serb said.

"It was some other things that I was going through privately.

"But it was nothing linked to the wrist injury I got in Rio.

"We all have private issues and things that are more challenges than issues, things we have to encounter and overcome in order to evolve as a human being.

"That was the period for me. Was resolved and life is going on like everything else."

Meanwhile, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal insisted yesterday morning that they have no intention of loosening their grip on power despite the sport's "Big Four" slipping into the twilight of their careers.

Murray, Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer have accounted for 46 of the last 53 Majors among them.

The physical cracks are starting to show - Djokovic and Nadal have been bothered by wrist problems in recent weeks while 35-year-old Federer has shut down his 2016 season due to a knee injury.

But Murray, described by top-10 rival Kei Nishikori as "Ironman" for his battling run to the Olympic Games gold medal in Rio, says that at 29 years old, he is using his age as a motivating factor.

"I'd imagine I'd be playing at this level for three, four more years, max," said Murray, the holder of three Grand Slam titles.

"It's not easy to do that. I hope I'm still playing like this when I'm 38 years old, but it's pretty unlikely.

"I want to make the most of every tournament I play in and try and win and achieve as much as I can the next few years."

Nadal, a year older than both Djokovic and Murray at 30, has endured a catalogue of injury woes throughout his career, but went on a marathon run at the Olympics where he lost in the semi-finals of the singles but won gold in the men's doubles.

"The 'Big Four' are getting older. But still Novak is No. 1, Andy No. 2," said 14-time Grand Slam champion Nadal.

"It's obvious that we will not be here forever, but I think I can play to the level I had before my injury for the next three, four years."

Djokovic believes that he remains at the peak of his powers despite a shock third-round loss at Wimbledon.

"I'm 29 and believe that I'm at a peak of my abilities as a tennis player," said the Serb.

"I'll try to keep that peak as consistent and enduring as much as possible." - Wire Services.

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