Novak Djokovic makes his return from a six-month injury absence in Abu Dhabi this week saying that he has learned not to take things for granted.
The 30-year-old former world number one has not played since Wimbledon last July after an elbow injury caused him to call an end to his season.
Djokovic has since slid to 12th in the world rankings, his lowest position in more than a decade.
“It’s been a real roller-coaster ride for me for a year and a half with this issue. I’ve never had surgery in my life, I’ve never had any major injuries that kept me away from the tour for such a long time,” Djokovic said.
“I never missed a Grand Slam in my career. It was a big decision, a big call to make. I couldn’t play anymore, there was no choice. It was like, that’s it, you can’t lift your arm.”
Djokovic will return to court this week at the Mubadala World Championship which begins on Thursday.
He will then return to competition at next week’s Qatar Open before attempting to win a seventh Australian Open title.
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) December 13, 2017
Djokovic has enlisted the help of Radek Stepanek to his coaching team that is lead by Andre Agassi as he attempts to get his career back on track.
“I’ve learned a lesson because I really want to avoid getting to that stage of an injury ever in my career after this,” Djokovic added.
“And it was a great lesson to learn to be honest. It was not easy for me to be absent for so long.
“I can’t wait to get back on the competition level but it was a great experience for me to have. And it was a somewhat necessary experience because I got maybe too comfortable with not having major injuries.”