Djokovic taking inspiration from Del Potro's injury recovery

An elbow injury has plagued Novak Djokovic in recent times but Juan Martin del Potro's repeated comebacks have inspired the Serbian.

Novak Djokovic celebrates his opening win at the French Open   -  Getty Images

Novak Djokovic is taking heart from Juan Martin del Potro's resurgence following injury as he grapples with the after-effects of his own fitness concerns at the French Open.

The 12-time major champion, victorious at Roland Garros in 2016, has toiled with a troublesome elbow injury since last year - a problem that eventually required surgery.

He secured safe passage to the second round on Monday, however, with a 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory over Rogerio Dutra Silva on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Del Potro's earlier career was blighted by chronic wrist problems, denying him the opportunity to add to his 2009 US Open crown, but he has since returned to something like full fitness and in the past couple of years has reached the Olympic final as well as claiming a maiden Masters 1000 title.

On his own physical state, Djokovic told a post-match media conference: "As long as I feel like I'm supposed to play, I'll play. If, at the moment, I don't feel like playing, I will not, and I don't feel obliged by anyone but myself to be on the tennis court.

"I just try to remind myself why I started playing this sport, and that's where I draw a lot of energy from.

"It's a challenge. I mean, I'm not the first player in the history of this game to face these kind of circumstances with big injuries.

"Del Potro comes to mind. He's someone that has faced even worse challenging circumstances with two, three years of [problems], couple of surgeries, coming back, playing, not playing really well, and then having to retire so many times.

"And now he's back to top 10, top five of the world. That's impressive. Those kind of stories inspire you, and hopefully I can do the same."