Novak Djokovic led USA's Taylor Fritz by two sets to love during their third round match on Friday, which is when he suffered an abdominal injury. The Serb proceeded to lose the next two sets before winning the decider, and has now revealed he was seriously considering retiring from the match.
During his post-match interview, Djokovic gave some details about how it felt when he suffered the injury. The World No. 1 could hardly move or rotate his waist during the third and fourth sets, which explains his seemingly listless shot-making in that period.
"The way it felt the beginning of the third set when I got my first medical timeout, I was debating really strongly in my head to retire after two games because I couldn't move. I couldn't rotate or return," Novak Djokovic said.
I don't have a great experience with tears in terms of continuing the tournament: Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic went on to reveal that he felt better in the fifth set after getting treatment. However, he expressed doubt about whether he would be able to recover in time for his fourth-round clash against Milos Raonic.
"I think it's a tear. I don't have great experience with tears in terms of continuing the tournament, so that's in the clouds for me at the moment whether I am going to step on court in 2 days," Djokovic said.
Below is a video clip of the point where Novak Djokovic seemingly injured his abdomen. He was wrongfooted on the forehand side from the baseline, which caused him to lose his balance and slip. From that point on, the Serb was visibly in discomfort as he clutched his waist area before receiving treatment for the injured part of his body.
Taylor Fritz would take advantage of Novak Djokovic's physical issues by nabbing the third and fourth sets to force a decider. But Djokovic managed to keep the discomfort at bay long enough to find another gear in the fifth and win it 6-2.
The Serb holds an 11-0 record over his next opponent Milos Raonic, having lost just three sets ever to the Canadian. But Djokovic is now in a race against time to be fully fit for his fourth-round match at the 2021 Australian Open. If his injury is indeed an abdominal tear, it is unlikely to heal in two days' time.