Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic will continue his injury comeback at the Miami Open. In this picture, Djokovic speaks to the press during Day 2 of the Miami Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center in Key Biscayne, Florida, March 19, 2018. Al Bello/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic will continue his comeback from injury at the Miami Open and the Serb is delighted it will be the first time in a “long, long time” he will be able to play pain free.

The former world number one struggled with an elbow injury since his loss at the Wimbledon Championships in 2017 and missed the last six months of the previous campaign.

Djokovic returned to action at the 2018 Australian Open where he suffered defeat in the round of 16 at the hands of emerging young star Hyeon Chung. After the first Grand Slam of the year, Djokovic again suffered a recurrence of his injury and needed to undergo a small procedure to repair the damage.

The 31-year-old then came back at the BNP Paribas Masters between March 5-18, but his stay at the tournament was short lived as he was beaten in the second round by 109 ranked Taro Daniels. Djokovic admitted after the game he felt like he was playing his first match on tour.

The Serbian star will now continue his comeback at the Miami Open, where he is seeded number nine in the men’s singles, and will also take part in the men’s doubles event partnering compatriot Victor Troicki. Djokovic is happy he will be able to compete for the first time without fear of the pain that has troubled him over the last couple of years.

“The last few days have been the first days in long, long time that I could actually focus on the game rather than have something in my mind always worried whether I'm going to have pain or not, and usually it happened,” Djokovic told reporters Tuesday at the Miami Open, as quoted on ATP’s official site. “It's quite refreshing because everything else was pain involved.”

“I'm not yet at my best but I'm working to get there. Every day is a process for me and is an opportunity to learn, to grow, to get better. Obviously the two years of an injury and trying to figure out ways how to play pain-free, which I wasn't able to a lot of times in the last couple years, were compromising my game,” he added. “Right now I'm not playing with the pain, which is the most important thing, and I can actually start focusing on the game rather than thinking about whether the pain is going to reappear or not.”

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal, who was also sidelined with a hip injury, has provided an update with regards to the progress he is making ahead of a possible comeback at the start of April when Spain take on Germany in the Davis Cup quarter-finals.

The Spaniard is yet to complete a tournament in 2018, with his only appearance coming at the Australian Open when he had to withdraw midway through his quarter-final clash against Marin Cilic. He was expected to return at the Mexico Open, but withdrew last minute after suffering a recurrence of the injury.

Nadal subsequently dropped out from the Masters Series events at Indian Wells and Miami and it was expected he will return for the start of the clay court season at the Monte Carlo Masters. However, his former coach Toni Nadal recently revealed the 16-time men’s singles Grand Slam champion is eager to get fit for Spain’s Davis Cup clash against the Germans.

“Today in Barcelona, visit to Dr. Ruiz-Cotorro to see the evolution of the lesion,” Nadal wrote on his official Twitter account Tuesday.