Novak Djokovic injury update: World No.4 admits to nearly pulling out of the Australian Open

Quick Bit: Novak Djokovic showed signs of his hamstring injury problem but still defeated Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets in the Australian Open third round.

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Novak Djokovic showed signs of his hamstring injury problem but still defeated Grigor Dimitrov in straight sets in the Australian Open third round.

The Serbian will play Australia’s top-ranked remaining player Alex de Minaur in the fourth round after progressing past 27th seed Dimitrov 7-6(7) 6-3 6-4 in three hours and seven minutes at Rod Laver Arena.

Djokovic needed injury timeouts at the end of the first set and middle of the third, after he pulled up short on number of occasions, grimacing during the contest.

But the world No.4 still managed to get to the fourth round with a score that looked like a convincing win.

His chances of winning a 10th Australian Open appeared to be on the rocks during the second set of his second-round match against Enzo Couacaud, but he battled through injury to eventually claim a convincing victory.

The world no.5 has endured a litany of injury issues in the lead-up to the tournament, being forced to withdraw from the Adelaide International, before also pulling out of a practice session with Daniil Medvedev. Although he overcame yet another scare to cruise to a 6-1 6-7(5) 6-2 6-0 win.

The Sporting News has all the latest on the superstar’s fitness.

What is Novak Djokovic’s injury?

While Djokovic appeared to be struggling against Dimitrov, he still managed to get the job done on the scoreboard.

The 21-time Grand Slam winner admitted that he wouldn’t miss the Australian Open but does not know how long he will last given his injury run.

“I did not want to pull out for the tournament because I wanted to see how it’s going to feel on the court,” Djokovic said post-game.

“The first match was good. The second match I struggled a lot. I had a couple of moments where it was really bad today, as well.

“But I managed to, as I said, survive and kind of pull it through. I’ll take it match by match. I don’t know what awaits, but I do hope and I have faith for the best.”

It was a similar scenario in the match against Couacaud in the second round.

Losing Djokovic would have been a huge blow to the tournament with top two seeds Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud already having departed in the second round. It appeared as though a similar fate could be in store for the Serbian when he was seen grimacing on a number of occasions during the second set against Couacaud.

He went off court at 4-5 for medical attention and returned with a heavily strapped hamstring, before regaining his composure to see off his overwhelmed opponent.

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It’s the same hamstring which Djokovic had issues with in South Australia last week, where he still managed to claim the Adelaide International title on his first visit to the country since being deported in 2021.

The practice match with Medvedev was supposed to last 75 minutes, but Djokovic walked off the court after 36 minutes after losing the first set 6-4 to the Russian.

Djokovic broke Medvedev in the first game of the match but started having issues with his hamstring in the fifth game.

The 21-time slam winner did manage to play in an exhibition match with Nick Kyrgios prior to the Australian Open, but it was only a two-set Fast Four match, with wheelchair players and juniors assisting in the third set.

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After Kyrgios called Djokovic a ‘tool’ in 2021 following his complaints regarding lockdown hotels on the ATP tour, the relationship between the pair has been repaired, with it seeming like they are now good friends.

The improvement in relationship occurred after Kyrgios supported Djokovic’s quest to get a visa for Australian Open 2022, while it continued to flourish as the duo fought each other in the Wimbledon 2022 final.

Just prior to the recent New Year, Kyrgios used his Instagram to hint that he and Djokovic could play doubles together in the future.

“I wasn’t his favourite guy – let’s take it that way – for many years,” Djokovic said of the relationship with Kyrgios.

“But he was one of the very few that stood by me last year, and I respect that and appreciate that.

“In those moments you can actually see who truly supports you and who is by your side and who goes with the flow of the society and the pressures that media puts on you.

“He was giving undivided support in the moments where I was being challenged a lot, and him as an Australian, I respected that a lot.

“Since then, our relationship has changed for the better.”

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