World No. 4 Daniil Medvedev recently expressed his surprise at Novak Djokovic's spectacular win over Taylor Fritz in the third round of the 2021 Australian Open. The Russian revealed that he had watched the match up to the middle of the fourth set, fully expecting Djokovic to lose given how the Serb was being hampered by injury.
Novak Djokovic's abdominal injury allowed Fritz to come back from two sets down and take the match into a decider. However, the World No. 1 fought through the pain to ultimately win in five sets.
After the match, Djokovic admitted to taking the highest possible dose of a strong anti-inflammatory, which helped him manage the pain. The Serb skipped practice on Saturday in order to undergo scans to understand the extent of his injury.
Speaking after his third-round win on Saturday, Daniil Medvedev claimed that he thought Novak Djokovic’s injury would bring an end to the Serb’s Australian Open campaign. According to the Russian, it was clear that Djokovic was suffering from an excruciating amount of pain.
“I definitely, yeah, just saw that he was in pain," said Medvedev. “I actually went to sleep and it was the middle of the fourth set because I had an early match and it was like 11:30 pm already, and I thought he was going to lose it because you could feel that he was in big pain, not moving, not hitting the ball.”
Daniil Medvedev went on to admit that the news of Novak Djokovic’s win left him 'surprised', but in the same breath lauded the Serb for his never-say-die attitude. The Russian refused to speculate on the extent of Djokovic’s injury though, and added that he never likes to see a rival getting injured.
“So I was surprised when I saw him winning,” Medvedev continued. “(But) that’s why he has 18 Grand Slams. That’s why he’s amazing. After I don’t know what he has, so let’s see what he has, but as I say, thinking about myself, and again, only if I meet him it’s going to be in the final. Never good to see a player injured.”
Many - including Novak Djokovic himself - fear that the eight-time champion suffered an abdominal tear due to an unfortunate slip during his match against Fritz. Should the scans confirm a tear, Novak Djokovic’s Australian Open campaign will likely come to a premature end - even before he can take on Milos Raonic.
Don’t know if Novak Djokovic is actually injured: Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos Tsitsipas also gave his thoughts on Novak Djokovic’s physical condition. The Greek revealed that he had skipped Djokovic's match owing to its late finish, due to which he had to depend on hearsay about the injury.
The Greek recalled his match against Djokovic at the 2020 French Open, where an injury had affected his own performance.
“I heard some things from different people," said Tstsipas. “I didn’t watch the match. I think it was too late. It was bedtime for me. It went until really late, a five-setter. I don’t know, I hear he played really well in the fifth. I don’t have much more information. I heard he was kind of injured I’m not even sure. It happens to everyone, I don’t know if he is actually injured.”
"I struggled with an injury at my French Open semifinal against him actually, which didn’t end really well," the Greek added. "I fought really hard, and after five sets, it hurts a lot knowing that the injury that was quite okay at the time got worse."