World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is likely to return to action only during the claycourt season, according to his coach Goran Ivanisevic.
Djokovic is expected to be sidelined for a few weeks in the wake of the muscle tear he suffered en route to winning his ninth Australian Open last month. And in an interview with Tennis Majors, Ivanisevic claimed that the Serb would want to avoid the unnecessary risk of aggravating his injury.
At the same time, Ivanisevic added that there is a possibility that Djokovic could play the Miami Open.
"It is realistic (to say he won’t play before clay season)," Ivanisevic said. "Now it depends on the injury as well, but there is no need to rush it. The only tournament that he would play is maybe Miami."
The Miami Open, one of the nine Masters events in the year, is scheduled to begin on 22 March. Meanwhile, the first big claycourt event on the calendar is the Monte Carlo Masters, which kicks off on 12 April.
Goran Ivanisevic further revealed that Novak Djokovic will do an MRI scan in two weeks' time, to get a clearer picture of where his fitness levels are.
"I think his next MRI is in two weeks, so we will see," Ivanisevic went on. "There is no need to take any risks. I would rather see him 100% ready for the clay season in order to try to go after the Roland Garros title once more."
No significant change to Novak Djokovic's yearly schedule: Goran Ivanisevic
During the interview, Goran Ivanisevic asserted that Novak Djokovic will continue to play tune-up events before each of the Slams in 2021.
After winning his 18th Major in Melbourne, Djokovic had announced that going forward he would focus his energies on breaking the all-time Grand Slam record. But Ivanisevic clarified that although Djokovic might reduce his workload a little, there are unlikely to be any significant changes to the Serb's schedule.
"I am sure that he will play a couple of tournaments on clay before Roland-Garros, one grass tournament before Wimbledon and then there are Olympics before the US Open," Ivanisevic said. "We will see about indoors, but on a yearly level, he might play two or three tournaments less, which is not a significant change."
The Croat believes that it is necessary for a player to play some matches before a Grand Slam. He went on to explain how Novak Djokovic's two wins at the ATP Cup boosted his confidence heading into this year's Australian Open.
"I do not think one can focus on Slams only since you need to have good preparation and a positive feeling going into the Slam," Ivanisevic added. "For instance, Novak Djokovic was feeling great about himself before the Australian Open because of the two tough matches he had at the ATP Cup."