Novak Djokovic returns to practice courts for first time since Australian Open defeat

Novak Djokovic has not played since losing to Hyeon Chung at the Australian Open. GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic is moving closer to making a full comeback from his long-term elbow injury after he took to the practice courts for the first time since taking part at the Australian Open in January.

The former world No. 1 took to social media earlier this week to share footage of him hitting balls at the Piatti Tennis Centre in Italy as he eyes a full return to competitive action later this year.

The video was posted on the Djokovic's official Instagram account alongside the caption "tuning my guitar" and showed the current world No. 13 working on his forehand.

Tuning my guitar 🎸 @piattitenniscenter

A post shared by Novak Djokovic (@djokernole) on

Djokovic, 30, was forced to sit out the second half of the 2017 season because of the problems with his racket-wielding arm and his prolonged absence from the ATP Tour saw him drop outside the world's top 10 for the first time since 2007.

The Serbian made a late decision to take part in the year's first Grand Slam but was defeated by South Korea's Hyeon Chung in the fourth round and has since undergone a "small medical intervention" to help his recovery.

After deciding to stay away from competition throughout February to put in work in the gym, the 12-time Grand Slam winner has started hitting balls again as he edges closer to a return to full fitness.

Djokovic is yet to set a timeline for his comeback and although he is still scheduled to take part at both Indian Wells and the Miami Open later this month, it is unlikely he will be seen in action before the start of the clay season.