Australian Open - 'He pretends he's giving up' - Patrick Mouratoglou on Novak Djokovic injuries
World number one Novak Djokovic sustained a nasty injury in his third-round match at the 2021 Australian Open, and top tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou has spoken about how the Serb sometimes, "pretends he's giving up", during a match and, "plays a bit with the mind of the opponent when he's in trouble."
Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts on a point against Canada's Milos Raonic during their men's singles match on day seven of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne
Top coach Patrick Mouratoglou has given his views on Novak Djokovic's injury situation at the 2021 Australian Open and his history of dealing with injuries mid-match.
Djokovic defeated 14th seed Milos Raonic in four sets on Sunday but said after the match that had it not been a Grand Slam, he would have withdrawn from the tournament due to the severity of his injury.
Mouratoglou was asked by Tennis Majors to talk about the respective injury struggles Djokovic and fellow contender Rafael Nadal are having to deal with at Melbourne Park, and he gave an interesting perspective.
"For Novak, I think it is worse [than Nadal's]. Because it's the abdominals, and the abdominals, you use them on every shot," Mouratoglou said.
"A lot of players like to have a little pain here and there, because it takes pressure off them.
"Now, we're talking about champions, and champions never escape pressure. Champions accept pressure, embrace pressure and learn to deal with the pressure.
Sometimes during the matches, Novak plays a bit with the mind of the opponent when he's in trouble, he's done it a lot of times in the past. When he's down, sometimes he pretends he's giving up, he's not really there, and then suddenly, boom, he plays again.
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"This is something that he does, but he doesn't fake an injury during a tournament.
"Rafa clearly tries to shorten the matches, be more aggressive than usual. He prefers to be in control of the rally, to be also in control of his body.
"Mentally, it's an incredible effort to play tennis when you're always thinking to try to control your motions and not activate the zone that is in pain.
"Because he knows, if on one shot, he goes too far, the injury can go to the next level."
Eurosport expert Tim Henman also provided his thoughts on Djokovic's injury on Sunday ahead of the Raonic match, and said he was "very worried" for the reigning champion.
"He was talking about it being an abdominal tear," Henman said in the Cube. "Well, if it's an abdominal tear it's almost impossible to carry on.
"Fingers crossed he is going to be able to go out there and be okay, because he has a great record."
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