Djoko left pondering a six-month break after withdrawal
Novak Djokovic will consider taking up to six months off after retiring injured from his Wimbledon quarter-final against Tomas Berdych. Djokovic, who was bidding to win his fourth Wimbledon title, pulled out with an elbow injury on Court One while Berdych was leading 7-6 (7-2) 2-0.
The Serbian took a medical time-out at the end of the first set, but remained in visible discomfort and felt unable to continue.
Berdych (below) goes through to face 18-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the last-four, while Djokovic will attempt to recover from an injury he said has been affecting him for "over a year and a half".
"I've never had a rest throughout my career. I had a schedule to play all the time. Maybe I will miss half a year," Djokovic said.
That is just one option, and the Serbian added: "I guess the break is something that I will have to consider.
"The specialists that I've talked with, they haven't been really too clear, mentioning also surgery, mentioning different options. Nobody was very clear.
"As long as it kind of comes and goes, it's fine, but obviously, adding up, maybe it worked for seven, eight, 10 months, but now the next seven months is not working that great. It's adding up more and more. The more I play, the worse it gets."
Djokovic said he had spent around two hours with physiotherapists before his match against Berdych in an attempt to ease the problem and would now see a specialist.
"It's unfortunate that I had to finish Wimbledon, a Grand Slam, this way. If someone feels bad about it, it's me," Djokovic said.
"But I tried. I tried what I could do to get it in the condition where I'm able to play.
"I was able maybe for 30 minutes to play with some pain that was bearable. All the treatments couldn't really help."
Djokovic was perhaps also not helped by an unfortunate change in the scheduling after Rafael Nadal's marathon defeat to Gilles Muller pushed back his fourth-round match from Monday to Tuesday.
The 12-time Major champion had little problem beating France's Adrian Mannarino, but facing two opponents in as many days proved too much.
"I started feeling it at the beginning of the tournament," Djokovic said. "Unfortunately today was the worst day. Probably the fact that I played yesterday, it wasn't helping at all."
Djokovic was the second injury-affected player to exit the tournament yesterday after a limping Andy Murray endured a surprise defeat to Sam Querrey.
Murray's hip problem is the latest in a long line of physical problems for the Scot in recent months and Djokovic admitted their busy end to last year may have had an effect.
"It could be. We both had a very long, very tough year, a lot of matches, a lot of emotions, a lot of things in play," Djokovic said. "Our bodies have taken a lot physically."