The elbow problem forced Djokovic to withdraw from an exhibition tournament in United Arab Emirates on Friday.
Other elite players also under an injury cloud are world No.1 Rafael Nadal, who withdrew from the Brisbane International, and Andy Murray, who will test a hip injury this weekend before deciding whether to play next week's ATP tournament in the Queensland capital.
The 30-year-old Serb had been scheduled to start the new season at an exhibition match in Abu Dhabi on Friday when an elbow injury flared up.
Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from the Qatar Open due to an elbow injury to cast further doubt over his chances of playing at the Australian Open. "I still feel the pain", Djokovic said in a statement.
In recent years, Djokovic has used the Qatar tournament as valuable warm-up for the Australian Open.More news: More Than 40 Dead After Explosions In Afghanistan's Capital
"I am very happy with the way I played and I am very excited about the next few weeks and obviously, the rest of 2018".
"Only when I'm 100 per cent ready to play, I will be able to come back. I want to thank everyone for patience and understanding".
Djokovic will continue with treatment to his elbow after consulting with his medical team, he said.
The 12-time Grand Slam victor has not played since he was forced to retire against Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in July due to an elbow injury.
The tennis star finished 2017 without a Grand Slam title for the first time in six years. He was upset in the second round of the Australian Open by No. 117 Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan and went out in the quarterfinals of the French Open.