Australian Open 2021: 'Any other tournament I'd probably not be playing' - Novak Djokovic on injury
The world number one is bidding to win the Australian Open for a ninth time. He overcame a muscle injury to beat Taylor Fritz in the third round and was pushed hard by Milos Raonic on Sunday. He looked in pain on occasions, but also produced some excellent tennis to claim victory in four sets in Melbourne.
Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates match point in his Men's Singles fourth round match against Milos Raonic of Canada during day seven of the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park
Novak Djokovic has said that he would not be competing at the Australian Open on account of injury if it wasn’t a Grand Slam.
The world number one, who is bidding for a ninth win at the Australian Open, picked up a stomach injury in his win over Taylor Fritz on Friday, and on the brink of his match with Milos Raonic there was doubt as to whether he would take to the court in the fourth round.
Highlights: Djokovic overcomes injury fears with win over Raonic
“If I wasn’t in the condition I would pull out, so there was a big cloud of doubt over whether I would play or not,” he said. “But it's a Grand Slam and for me at this stage of my career this means everything. There are four events a year that I give everything I have in me to compete.
“If it was any other tournament I'd probably not be playing.
"Right now, in my head, it’s all about recovery to be honest. I’m not really thinking about any training, I just really want to try and feel better and better as this tournament progresses.
"Because I am under painkillers for 48 hours, very strong ones, I don’t know exactly the damage has been done but there is always the chance to do more damage to what it was previously because when you play a match you can’t control your body, you are going for it, you are not thinking about I shouldn’t play at this point or that point.
"I’m also quite an aggressive player in terms of movement, I slide a lot, so that doesn’t help with this kind of injury."
'When he was asked the questions, he raised his game' - Henman on Djokovic
"I went to sleep around 4 or 430am after the last match [against Fritz]," he said.
"I don’t think it’s going to be anything different tonight, maybe even longer. As I said, in the next 48 hours the number one priority is to get as much recovery as possible and collect all the possible energy for the next match."