Novak Djokovic was dealing with an eye infection, but the world's No. 1 player is ready to return to the court at the Davis Cup on March 4.
Continue for updates.
Djokovic Comments on Return
Thursday, March 3
The Associated Press (via ESPN.com) revealed Djokovic "will play the opening match against Aleksandr Nedovyesov on Friday when Serbia takes on Kazakhstan in the first round of the Davis Cup." The AP also provided comments from Djokovic:
I have known Nedovyesov from his junior days. I have seen him play several times, but I am cautious because surprises are possible in such matches. ...
We must first overcome this obstacle. The most important thing is to be prepared, start the match with high intensity and use the audience support, which can be crucial.
Djokovic Out of Dubai with Eye Infection
Thursday, Feb. 25
According to Live Tennis, Djokovic retired from his quarterfinal match against Spain's Feliciano Lopez in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships due to an eye ailment.
He made the decision to exit the tournament after dropping the first set to Lopez, 6-3.
According to ESPN Tennis, the retirement snapped a lengthy streak of Djokovic reaching tournament finals:
Djokovic retires from his Dubai quarterfinal after Lopez won the first set 6-3. Snaps streak of 17-straight finals for Djokovic.2/25/2016, 5:44:14 PM
Per ATP Media Info, it also marked his first retirement in five years:
ATP Media Info @ATPMediaInfo
Last time @DjokerNole retired was vs. @DelPotroJuan in 2011 @DavisCup SF. Djokovic played 350 matches before his next retirement (312-38).2/25/2016, 6:03:39 PM
Djokovic Has Avoided Major Injuries During Career
Not only has Djokovic been a pillar of consistency in terms of performance, he has yet to suffer any sort of significant injury. Last year, he complained of a chronic arm injury, but it hasn't had anywhere near the impact Rafael Nadal's various knee ailments have had on his career.
A health issue is the only thing that can slow Djokovic down in 2016. He's the unquestioned No. 1 player in the world, and the gulf between him and the rest of his opponents is pretty significant. Djokovic won three of the four major tournaments in 2015, with the lone exception the French Open—the only Grand Slam title missing on his resume.
He also won this year's Australian Open and is looking to complete the calendar Grand Slam that he narrowly missed out on in 2015.
Djokovic's window to capture a French Open win isn't necessarily closing, but he's likely reaching the end of his peak years.
Roger Federer has aged more gracefully than just about any men's player in history given the level of physicality necessary to compete at the highest level. Only two of his record-setting 17 Grand Slam titles came after he turned 28; Djokovic turns 29 in May.
Djokovic will want to make sure he maximizes these next couple of years before a potential decline really starts to set in. Part of that plan will be avoiding any catastrophic injuries.
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