Novak Djokovic’s 2019 return to form may hinge on two factors — Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic — one of the favorites entering this week’s Aegon Championships at Queen’s Club — hasn’t been playing very well lately.

Djokovic, who was beaten in two finals in the prior fortnight, has lost his No. 1 ranking to Rafael Nadal, who lost in his first match Wednesday. Djokovic was also beaten by Nicolas Mahut in the Wimbledon first round last month and has not advanced past the quarterfinals since. Djokovic ended a nine-month absence from the tour — which began after he injured his elbow — with the French Open in May. The Serb looked ready to return to form, notching two titles — the Monte Carlo and Rome Masters — but has since lost in all three of his tournaments since.

Djokovic, 33, defeated world No. 48 Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 6-4 on Wednesday, in what he called a “tough match.” On Thursday, Djokovic was asked whether he would continue to be a clay-court specialist, which has always been the mainstay of his game.

“My response right now is, ‘We’ll see,’” Djokovic said. “I’m going to spend some more time off in the next few days and go through some medical tests, and see what I think about it. And if I do need to play on grass, which I would prefer to do, I will do so and see where I’m at.”

Djokovic has used an extended list of nicknames in his career — “The Protector,” “The Bear,” “The Doctor,” “The Grey” — and remains the “Superstar,” though “The Golden Bear” has taken over. However it turns out, the tournament’s pre-tournament favorite already faces a significant challenge in securing a place in the second round, where he must survive three qualifying rounds.

Though Rafael Nadal is Djokovic’s biggest challenger, Andy Murray remains in the form of his life, winning four of his last five tournaments — both the Madrid and Rome Masters. While Murray has now advanced beyond the second round of Queen’s Club’s first three years, the two are scheduled to play on Monday.

Murray’s mother Judy is a two-time Queen’s Club champion.

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