Greg Rusedski believes Andy Murray will be ‘in the mix to win majors again’ once he recovers from a hip injury, but fears Novak Djokovic’s ‘mental’ problems will be more ‘difficult’ to overcome.
The pair ended 2016 as the top two players in the world but a loss of fitness and form has seen Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal dominate 2018.
Neither man has played since the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, with Djokovic retiring against Tomas Berdych due to an elbow injury and Murray losing to Sam Querrey while suffering with a hip problem.
The Serb has already ended his year due to his elbow issue and is targeting a return to action in Australia at the start of 2018 as he looks to challenge Federer and Nadal at the majors once more.
Djokovic sat on top of the world little over a year ago, finally winning the French Open to hold all four Grand Slams at once, an achievement only matched by two other men in history, before failing to defend any of his crowns.
Murray’s own problems surfaced after he reached world No. 1 and he suffered from his own elbow problem as well as shingles in what’s been a frustrating year.
But with both men set to drop outside the top-10 before the start of next season, former world No. 4 Rusedski is expecting their returns to offer different challenges, with Murray merely overcoming a physical obstacles and Djokovic facing a bigger mental challenge.
‘Murray for me it’s not mental – it’s physical,’ Rusedski told Sky Sports.
‘If the body comes back and the hip is fine and he can get himself physically fit again, and everything is firing, he will be in the mix to win majors again.
‘Djokovic for me, however, with the elbow injury – it’s such a mental question mark.
‘He was the best player bar none when he held all the four majors [at the same time] – which no player had done since Rod Laver.
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‘The fall from grace he has had has been incredible – that to me is mental and that can be more difficult [to overcome] sometimes than a physical injury.’
It’s not the first time Djokovic has been accused of struggling with mental difficulties, with John McEnroe famously comparing him to Tiger Woods at Wimbledon.
However, amid accusations of mental struggles, the 30-year-old’s new physio Ulises Badio insisted the elbow problem was ‘serious’.