ROME (AP) Novak Djokovic has been pain-free for 10 days and is ready to return from the right wrist injury that forced him to withdraw from the Madrid Open a week ago.
The second-ranked Serb has been practicing hard as he prepares for this week’s Italian Open and the French Open, which starts in two weeks.
”Right now I feel much more confident at the state of my wrist and I know that I’m ready much more to play a match than I was one week ago,” Djokovic said Sunday after attracting thousands of spectators to a practice session with Australian Open champion Stanislas Wawrinka on the Foro Italico’s spectacular Pietrangeli court, which is lined with neo-classical statues.
When Djokovic lost to Roger Federer in the Monte Carlo Masters semifinals last month, his wrist was heavily strapped and he was unable to serve or return at his usual level.
”It’s a wiser decision if you try to heal it 100 percent than 50 percent and compromise the next weeks,” Djokovic said.
The last thing Djokovic wanted to risk was a recurrence, citing wrist problems that have affected fellow players Juan Martin del Potro and Nikolay Davydenko
”The second time that it comes back it becomes a chronic injury, which you definitely don’t want to have,” he said. ”From now on I will be extra careful about my wrist.”
Djokovic opens in Rome against Czech veteran Radek Stepanek and he’s hoping to have both of his head coaches in place this week – long-time adviser Marian Vajda and six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker, who joined his staff in December.
”Boris is here. And we’re trying to see if we can get Marian here, because they’re both going to be present in Paris,” Djokovic said, adding that Vajda is spending more time with his family and two tennis-playing daughters lately.
”(Vajda) understands and knows me really well and he can help Boris to get more efficient in that transition to cooperating well with me on the court,” Djokovic said. ”That’s why I’m trying to get them to be together.”
A six-time Grand Slam winner himself, Djokovic won the Italian Open in 2008 and 2011.