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Can Novak Djokovic Rediscover his Winning Form?
Friday, 05/04/2018
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Novak Djokovic's dominance of the sport has dwindled over the past 12 months with the Serbian struggling with injuries and a lack of match fitness. He has vowed to return to the top and rediscover the kind of form which has seen him secure twelve Grand Slam titles during his professional career. Both Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have enjoyed a recent resurgence but can the 30-year replicate their respective rejuvenations?
Novak Djokovic was knocked out of the Barcelona Open by Martin Klizan on April 25th with the 140th-ranked player prevailing in three sets. He showed signs of weariness throughout and was evidently still feeling the effects of a recent elbow injury which has plagued the former world number one throughout the last couple of months. It's been far from a productive 2018 for the Belgrade-born star who was beaten by Dominic Thiem in Monte Carlo whilst he also crashed out in the second round of the Miami Masters.

He has admitted that he is currently going through a "challenging process" and claimed his confidence levels are "not at the highest level".

In contrast, Rafa Nadal has been enjoying a purple patch with the Majorcan triumphing in Barcelona for the 11th time at the end of April whilst also claiming his 55th title on the clay courts. Djokovic has spoken of his desire to replicate the 31-year old and return to his best following an injury lay-off. Djokovic took time out from the court following Wimbledon 2017 and he admits he may have returned too soon. Despite his mixed start to the year, he remains towards the top of the betting and is priced at 10/3 in the Bet365 tennis odds for yet more success at SW19, with Roger Federer currently listed as the favourite. The ageless Swiss star is aiming to wrap up his ninth Wimbledon title in July.

Djokovic has insisted he will be working hard to restore his confidence and get back to his imperious best. His return may have been a little premature and he must decide whether to spend additional time on the sidelines in order to ensure he doesn't further exacerbate his elbow complaint. With a number of players such as Kyle Edmund, Hyeon Chung and Alexander Zverev enjoying fruitful campaigns, the ATP tour is incredibly competitive and a half-fit Djokovic is likely to struggle to reach the latter stages of any event.

He must decide whether or not to participate in the French Open, which gets underway on May 21st at Roland Garros and he also has plans to appear in Madrid and Rome. He may need to sacrifice one or both of these events in order to ensure he is fully fit for the grass-court swing this summer.

Having not won a Grand Slam since 2016, Djokovic desperately needs to get his career back on track and he has shown intermittent signs of regaining his form. There is a long way to go and he needs to be incredibly patient in order to follow in the footsteps of Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer but there is no doubt that the Serbian has the talent to eventually return to the top.