Sam Groth has once again taken aim at Novak Djokovic, this time questioning the extent of the Serb’s abdominal injury. Groth has claimed that Djokovic’s condition may not be as serious as some believe it to be, given that the Serb has managed to outlast his recent opponents physically.
Sam Groth is a former World No. 53 who now plies his trade as a tennis commentator. The Australian has often made scathing remarks towards Novak Djokovic, having also called the Serb a 'villian' in a recent column.
Now, while speaking on World Wide of Sports, Groth suggested that he doesn’t buy Novak Djokovic’s injury.
“I mean, is he injured? I don’t know,” Groth said. “He says he’s injured and comes out and plays matches.”
The show host then insisted that Novak Djokovic was indeed injured, but in response Groth claimed that the Serb's condition may not be too debilitating. According to the Australian, Djokovic’s physically demanding wins over Alexander Zverev and Taylor Fritz indicate that he is not greatly impaired by his ailment.
“No, well, if he is (injured), it’s not hindering him because he won in five against Fritz with an injury," Groth said. "He beat last night, Zverev - an amazing opponent - I thought that was gonna be a tough match, and it turned out to be. But you don’t play those sort of physical encounters and get through them like he is if the injury is hampering you to a point where you cant play.”
Novak Djokovic suffered an abdominal strain in his third-rounder against Taylor Fritz. The 34-year-old seemed to be in excruciating pain during the match, but fought through it and defeated the American in five sets.
After the match, Djokovic claimed he had suffered a muscular tear - a potentially season-ending injury. But many - including Sam Groth - feel that the Serb was exaggerating his condition, given his performances against Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev.
Novak Djokovic seems to be holding up just fine over 5 sets: Sam Groth
Continuing to analyze the extent of Novak Djokovic’s injury, Sam Groth asserted that he doesn't doubt the fact that the World No. 1 has hurt himself. But seeing how Djokovic has fought through 13 sets of tennis this Australian Open, Groth refuses to believe that the Serb is as badly injured as he claims to be.
“I’m not saying he’s not injured, but it can’t be that bad if you’re able to go five sets, four sets, four sets, that’s my opinion,” Groth said.
The Australian further cited the examples of Casper Ruud and Matteo Berrettini - two players who suffered a similar injury to that of Novak Djokovic. Ruud had to retire midway through his fourth-round match against Andrey Rublev, while Berrettini handed Stefanos Tsitsipas a walkover.
“You’ve seen players pull out, you’ve seen Casper Ruud pull out, Berrettini pull out, Dimitrov struggled yesterday with an injury,” Groth said. “Five sets is a true test of physicality, the mental, the technical, the tactical, and at the moment Novak’s said he’s got an injury but still seems to be holding up just fine and over five sets."