Novak Djokovic has suffered an injury scare ahead of his return to the Australian Open.The world number five pulled out of what was meant to have been a 75-minute practice session with Daniil Medvedev, yesterday, on the Rod Laver Arena.
The Serbian, 35, required treatment on his left leg during three changeovers before he called it quits after losing the first set 6-4 to the Russian in 38 minutes.
The issue stemmed from his run to the Adelaide International 1 trophy last week, where he had hamstring issues before the final against American Sebastian Korda.
The Spaniard Pablo Andujar filled in for the departed Djokovic, as Medvedev, 26, completed the unusual practice match against two different opponents.
Nine-time Australian Open champion, Djokovic is now facing a race against time to be fit for the opening Grand Slam of the season, which begins on January 16.
Djokovic told 9News Melbourne: “It’s the hamstring that I had problems with in Adelaide.
“I just felt it pulling and I didn’t want to risk anything worse.”
“I played a set and apologised to him (Medvedev) and he was understanding.
“I just want to avoid any bigger scares before the Australian Open.”Djokovic’s last defeat at the Oz Open came against South Korean Chung Hyeon in January 2018 and he is favourite to claim a tenth crown.
If he does that, then he will draw level with Rafael Nadal’s tally of 22 singles titles in the men’s tennis GOAT race. Yet Djokovic has been put down as the number four seed for the Australian Open.
The Serbian’s crazy 2022 season – which started with his deportation from Australia by customs officers and miss the US Open – saw him lose possession of the world number one tag and drop down the world rankings.