Former world number one Novak Djokovic admits he isn't certain how his elbow will behave as he goes in search of Grand Slam glory at the Australian Open.
The Serb has won six titles in Melbourne Park since 2008 but he has not played since retiring against Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in July.
Djokovic avoided surgery during his time away from the game and he concedes he is not quite at full tilt on the eve of the opening Grand Slam of 2018.
Coming back from a prolonged absence, Djokovic says there simply is no way of being certain how the body will react.
Even if it's 100 per-cent healed, after six months of no competition, you never know how you're going to react.Novak Djokovic
"It hasn't yet been 100 per-cent healed but right now it's at the level where I can compete," he said.
"Every day is getting better. I'm hoping that it can be 100 per-cent at the start of the tournament. Throughout the tournament, I don't know how it's going to behave.
"Even if it's 100 per-cent healed, after six months of no competition, you never know how you're going to react."
He will be seeded 14th in Melbourne and opens against American Donald Young on Tuesday.
Djokovic is 10000/1 to win the 13th Grand Slam title of his career and achieve a seventh Melbourne success. Now aged 30, he has watched resurgent Roger Federer enjoy an Indian summer in his career and is determined that more big days are ahead of him.
"The fire, passion, and love for the sport still burns inside. I have great support from my family and close ones and people around the world," he said.
"I do feel young inside, you know."
Federer is 2/9 to retain the Australian Open crown, while last year's beaten finalist Rafael Nadal is 10000/1 to go one better.
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