Novak Djokovic says he plans to play a full season as he returns from an elbow injury that has kept him off the tour since Wimbledon. The Serb is aiming to get back to the top of the game but is also being cautious in starting his comeback.
Asked about his goals, Djokovic told Sport360: "I would not be honest, not to you, to myself, if I tell you anything less than being No. 1 and winning Slams."
But he added, "For these circumstances now that I am in, I'm trying to balance these goals, at the same time be a bit more understanding of what's going on here and say just take your time. Even if it doesn't happen next season or whatever, take your time."
Djokovic is not planning to significantly reduce his playing schedule, but said he is still deciding whether to add Dubai or Acapulco to his schedule of events.
"I plan on playing Abu Dhabi, Doha and the Australian Open," Djokovic said. "And of course all the other big ones."
But at 30, there is one change Djokovic wants to make following the longest layoff of his career. He noted that he has played too long with his elbow problem and had maybe become too "comfortable with not having major injuries," telling Sport360 in the same interview, "I’ve learned a lesson, because I really want to avoid getting to that stage of an injury ever in my career.
"And it was a great lesson to learn, to be honest."
Now, Djokovic is returning to the tour eager and fresh, having been able to work on off-court projects and spend time at home while away from the game.
"I've had an opportunity, for the first time ever since I started playing to have this much time to, first of all, relax mentally, physically, emotionally, re-calibrate, be there for my wife for the second birth, be there for our son more," said Djokovic.
The Abu Dhabi exhibition will be Djokovic's comeback event. While sidelined, he dropped to 12th in the rankings.
Welcome back Novak, Roger and Serena on Tennis Channel and Tennis Channel Plus
Friday, December 29: Novak Djokovic begins his comeback at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi against either Roberto Bautista Agut or Andrey Rublev.
Not before 10:00 a.m. ET LIVE on Tennis Channel Plus. GET PLUS NOW at tnns.ch/TCPlus
Saturday, December 30: Roger Federer looks to continue his remarkable resurgence at the Hopman Cup in Perth in singles and mixed doubles competition.
4:30 a.m ET LIVE on Tennis Channel Plus. GET PLUS NOW at tnns.ch/TCPlus
And last but not least...
Saturday, December 30: Serena Williams returns at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi, in her first match since the birth of her first child, against the 2017 French Open champion, Jelena Ostapenko.
8:00 a.m ET LIVE on Tennis Channel. Additional airings at 2:00 p.m., 8:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. ET.