Novak Djokovic announced Wednesday he will miss the rest of the 2017 season to recover from a right elbow injury.
The Serbian, a 12-time Grand Slam champion and ranked No. 4 in the world, admitted after he was forced to retire during his Wimbledon quarterfinal loss two weeks ago that he had been feeling pain in his elbow for the past 18 months.
Djokovic, 30, posted a video statement on Facebook and his website shortly before a news conference at which he explained his decision in more detail.
"I've made a decision to not play any competitions or tournaments for the rest of the 2017 season," Djokovic said in the Facebook Live broadcast. "It's a decision that had to be made.
"My elbow is hurt due to excessive playing, and it troubles me constantly when serving, and now when hitting my forehand as well. Unfortunately, such injuries are often encountered in a professional sport, and I am very proud of the fact that I have been free from serious injuries during all these years.
"All the doctors I've consulted, and all the specialists I have visited, in Serbia and all over the world, have agreed that this injury requires rest. A prolonged break from the sport is inevitable. I'll do whatever it takes to recover. I will use the upcoming period to strengthen my body and also to improve certain tennis elements that I have not been able to work on over the past years, due to a demanding schedule. Five months may seem long from this point, but I'm sure they will pass quickly because there is so much I want to do.
"Another important moment is coming, we will become parents for a second time. My wife, Jelena, and I are expecting our second child, and we are preparing to welcome a new family member. These are things that fill me with greatest happiness and delight. I'm confident I will be ready for start of the new season."
Djokovic ends 2017 with a 32-8 match record, including two ATP World Tour titles at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in January and the Aegon International last month. He has won 68 career titles for seventh on the all-time titles leaders' list.
Djokovic will miss the U.S. Open that gets underway Aug. 28, ending his streak of participating in 51 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments starting with the 2005 Australian Open. He won the U.S. Open in 2011 and 2015.
"I have been dragging this injury for the past 18 months and it has escalated in the last month or two," Djokovic told reporters at the news conference. "I had to make a radical decision. It was a difficult one but I had no choice and will now have time to heal my body
"The remarkable series has come to an end. My body has its limits, and I have to respect that and be grateful for all that I have achieved so far."
Djokovic struggled since winning the 2016 French Open to complete a career Grand Slam. He said Andre Agassi, who recently began working with the former No. 1 on a part-time basis, will be his coach when he returns to the tour next year.
Djokovic said he plans to start with a tune-up tournament ahead of the Australian Open in January.
"I will definitely play in the first week of next season," Djokovic said. "I have enough time to recover as the first tournament of 2018 is six months away."