Novak Djokovic is currently off the competing field as he has decided to skip the second half of 2017 to take proper care of his injured elbow. But, as many have already suspected, the issues are not only in the physical area as the whole world had to witness a deflated body and mind of a sinking ship called Novak Djokovic. It's extraordinary how glory, fame and worldwide recognition can be easily replaced by a dark time. In a matter of months, the Serb now in his thirty went from total domination to almost nothing. He managed to keep his head above the water mostly due to some favorable circumstances as his game didn't stop from losing momentum.

The end of 2017 is several weeks ahead, and the dawn of 2018 will represent perhaps a new beginning for the twelve-time Grand Slam winner.

Djokovic with his worst season since becoming a tennis star

Winning his first French Open title back in 2016 acted as a capping mechanism to his professional career. Beating Rafael Nadal en route to that title just added some special flavor to his triumph. But, once the dust settled down, Djokovic stood out there in the field with no imminent goal next. At that time, Federer and Nadal were simply shadows from a glorious past while Wawrinka and Murray were not enough to keep the level of intensity high. Moreover, the physical toll of a few tremendous years took a big chunk out of Djokovic. But, he managed to survive an extra few months only to abandon the battle in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon giving a safe passage in the next round to Tomas Berdych.

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Cutting down to the core, the numbers were way below average in 2017. Winning two ATP 250 events in Doha and Eastbourne was a pale consolation for the Serb tennis superstar.

The ATP infirmary is jam-packed

Novak Djokovic is not the only one who had to pay a huge price for his past endeavors. The list of injured players who won't compete until 2018 has other big names attached to it. Andy Murray is the last one who was forced to sign in. Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori are also included. As they'll all lose points, the ranking picture in the early stages of 2018 will be a strange one opening up the possibility of some early-round shockers especially at the Australian Open.

Although Djokovic's long absence was the best chance for a complete recovery, there is no sure bet when it comes to the human body or mind. January 2018 and probably Melbourne will give a satisfactory response to these questions. There is a slight possibility that Djokovic will never reach a similar level of sharpness as he has had in the past. After all, he got past 30 years of age milestone, and no matter how much people would love another brilliant comeback of an ATP tennis icon, there are no guarantees at all.