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Novak: Will be fit for French Open

- ‘Need a short break in order to recover quickly’

Belgrade: Novak Djokovic has played down fears he will miss this year’s French Open, saying the wrist injury he sustained at the Monte Carlo Masters last week is not as serious as first feared.

The Serb, second in the world rankings behind Rafael Nadal, said on his website that he hoped to be fit to play in the Madrid Masters which starts on May 4.

“Fortunately, the situation with the injury is better than it first seemed… I will be fit for the French Open,” Djokovic said on Tuesday.

“Doctors assured me that I will be ready for Madrid, then Rome and Roland Garros, just as it has been planned.

“However, I need to continue with the recovery process and full medical treatments. It means I will need to take a short break in order to recover as soon as possible.”

The French Open is the only Grand Slam that Djokovic has yet to win, although he came close to beating Rafael Nadal in last year's semi-finals before losing in five sets.

Djokovic had won consecutive Masters 1000 titles in Shanghai, Paris, Indian Wells and Miami before losing to Federer in Saturday’s Monte Carlo semi-finals.

He wore a thick white bandage on the wrist while losing 7-5, 6-2 to Federer on Saturday in the semi-finals of the Monte Carlo Masters, where he was the defending champion. The wrist problem limited Djokovic’s ability to serve and return.

“I just rest now. I cannot play tennis for some time. How long, I don’t know. It’s really not in my hands anymore,” Djokovic had said. “I’m going to rest and see when it can heal 100 per cent, then I will be back on the court.”

Wrist injuries can be particularly problematic for tennis players, with the Argentinian Juan Martídel Potro and Britain’s Laura Robson the latest to suffer.

Del Potro, who missed most of the 2010 season after having surgery on his right wrist, is facing another prolonged spell out following an operation on his left wrist last month.

After winning the Apia International in Sydney in January, Del Potro withdrew from events in Dubai and Indian Wells.

“Obviously, it’s not the easiest choice or the happiest moment of my career,” Del Potro had said.

“I experienced a similar situation and I know how hard it is to be out of the Tour — the desire to return, the endless weeks of recovery and how difficult it is to start fighting for the top spots in the rankings again.”

Following the surgery, Del Potro said: “I’m still sore from the operation. Luckily everything went well. Thank you for all your affection.”

Del Potro is right-handed but uses a two-handed backhand, and he has sometimes played with a single-handed sliced backhand in recent years to protect his wrist.

Robson, meanwhile, will miss the French Open and Wimbledon after deciding to have surgery on her left wrist to cure a problem that has restricted her to only one completed match this season.

(Agencies)