Monte Carlo: Novak Djokovic has vowed to take as much recovery time as he needs to heal the right wrist injury which contributed to his 7-5, 6-2 Monte Carlo Masters semi-final loss to Roger Federer on Saturday.
But with the French Open just five weeks away, and his next scheduled event the Madrid Masters in a fortnight, timing is everything for the world number two Serb who won the 2013 Monte Carlo title against Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic revealed that he played in pain all week but did not risk retiring before his semi-final for fear of what kind of a reaction it would provoke.
In his younger days, the Serb was often accused of frivolous injury pullouts.
"The good thing is I don`t need to have a surgery, I don`t have any rupture or something like that," said Djokovic.
"I`m going to go see the doctors tonight and then tomorrow again have another MRI, see if anything changed in the seven days since I had the last one.
"I`ll just rest now. I cannot play tennis for some time -- how long, I don`t know. It`s really not in my hands anymore. I`m going to rest and see when it can heal 100%, then I will be back on the court."
Monte Carlo-based Djokovic admitted he had to play through the pain barrier all week in his aborted title defence.
"The pain was there every single day from 10 days ago, at some stages it was very painful. Between my first and second match I had a day off so I didn`t practise at all and I healed a little bit. Then again I started playing.
"Yesterday`s conditions (a win over Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in heavy night conditions) did not help the state of my arm -- long match, long rallies, heavy balls.
"I really don`t know the diagnosis, to be honest. I heard so many things in last 10 days. Trust me, it`s complicated."
While it`s too early for panic stations regarding the French Open -- the only Grand Slam title missing from his collection -- Djokovic is still puzzling as to exactly how he suffered his problem.
"I had two weeks between Miami and Monte Carlo (in March). It`s not like I was tired or I had some long trips or something like that. "It just happened during the practise week, sometimes it just happens. Sometimes it`s not predictable."