Djokovic will only play Wimbledon if he is ready to compete for the title

The Serbian said he should know before the draw is made on Friday morning

Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon 2023 Action Plus / Panoramic

Novak Djokovic hinted that he’ll decide whether to play Wimbledon before the draw is made on Friday morning.

And the seven-time champion says he will only take his place in the field if he feels physically ready to compete, having undergone meniscus surgery only two weeks ago after injuring himself in the quarter-finals at Roland-Garros.

“Rehab has been going in the right direction every single day, a few per cent better and better,” Djokovic told the BBC at Wimbledon, where he has been practising for the past few days.

“That’s what’s giving me hope and encouragement to keep going. “I still have a week left, plenty of time. I’m going to give my best to have a clear understanding of where I am before the draw is made.”

The draw will be made on Friday morning at 10am, by which time Djokovic said he should have a good idea if he’s ready to put his knee through the rigours of competition, over seven rounds.

“I didn’t come here (just) to play a few rounds,” he said. “I’m going to take it day by day and make a decision based on the feeling, or observation or conclusion that I and team members have made next four, five, six days. If I know I can play close to my maximum or at maximum, then I’ll play. If not, then I’ll give somebody else a chance to play.”

No plans to retire

Djokovic, who lost in the final last year to Carlos Alcaraz, said he has no intention of retiring just yet and said there should be more Wimbledons in him as he looks to win an eighth title, which would equal Roger Federer and take him clear at the top of the all-time list of Grand Slam titles, with 25.

“I still don’t plan to retire and have my last Wimbledon this year.” he said. “I want to keep going. This year has been different from all the other years, of course this injury happened in a very awkward moment, on the court, unfortunate, but that’s tennis. It’s the first time I had a major injury with the knee, so I’m trying to deal with it.

“I really will only play if I know I am in a state which is good enough to go far in the tournament and fight for the title, so that’s the condition. I’m taking things gradually. I’m not pushing myself yet 100% but I’m hoping that’s going to come in the next few days.”

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