Uncertainty over Novak Djokovic's participation in Australian Open, the first Grand Slam event of 2018, after the Serb announced his withdrawal from upcoming Qatar Open (starting January 1) on Saturday, December 30.

Djokovic had also pulled out of an exhibition match at the ongoing Mubadala Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on Friday, December 29 citing an elbow problem.

The former world number one revealed on Saturday his elbow condition had not improved and that he will be back in action only when is "100% ready to play".

Notably, Djokovic won the 2016 edition of Qatar Open, which serves as a warm-up event for the Australian Open, defeating the then world number one Andy Murray in the final.

Djokovic hopes for quick comeback

"Unfortunately, the situation with the elbow has not changed for better since yesterday. I still feel the pain. Therefore, I will have to withdraw from ATP tournament in Doha," Djokovic said in an official statement.

He added: "I am sorry that I will not be able to play in front of my fans here. I have great memories of this tournament and the matches I played, like the final against Andy from last year.

"However, after the thorough consultations with the medical team, we decided to keep up with the therapies and elbow treatments.

"Only when I'm 100% ready to play, I will be able to come back. I hope it will be soon. I want to thank everyone for patience and understanding."

Novak Djokovic
File photo of Novak DjokovicJEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Can Djokovic dominate again?

Djokovic has not played professional tennis since abandoning his Wimbledon quarter-final in July 2017. He underwent a surgery on his right elbow and did not even pick up a tennis racquet for almost four months, according to reports.

The tennis star finished 2017 without a Grand Slam title for the first time in six years. He failed to reach the quarter-final of Australian Open for the first time since 2007 and went on to win only two titles on the tour, thereby slipping to the 12th spot on ATP rankings.

Djokovic needs to make a strong comeback if he is to challenge the rest of the pack, especially Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer after the duo's dominating run in 2016.