03 January 2024

Novak Djokovic confident over Australian Open fitness despite wrist injury scare

03 January 2024

Novak Djokovic is confident he can recover from a wrist injury in time for his Australian Open title defence.

The world number one struggled with a problem with his right wrist and was not at his best in a straight-sets defeat to Alex de Minuar in the United Cup in Perth.

Djokovic, bidding for a record-extending 11th men’s Australian Open singles title, lost 6-4 6-4 to world number 12 De Minaur as Australia beat Serbia 2-0 in their quarter-final in the mixed team event.

“Congrats to De Minaur, he was very solid from the beginning, just played a great match and deserved to win,” Djokovic said in a post-match interview.

“I was not at my level, but it was just one of these days where you didn’t feel your best on the court and your opponent played very well, that’s all I can say.

“I have enough time to get myself in the right shape for the Australian Open and that’s what matters the most at this point.

“I think I’ll be OK, to be honest, but it did have quite an impact, particularly on the forehand and serve.

“But, again, I don’t want to be too much time talking about it and taking away credit for the victory from De Minaur, he was just very solid as he always is.

“Congrats to him and to the Australian team. It is what it is for us I guess and I move on with my thoughts in Melbourne.”

Djokovic will find out his first-round opponent at Melbourne Park when the singles draw for the first grand slam of the year takes place on Sunday.

The 36-year-old needed a medical time-out for his wrist problem in his previous United Cup match against the Czech Republic’s Jiri Lehecka, which he won in three sets on Tuesday.

I have enough time to get myself in the right shape for the Australian Open and that's what matters the most at this point

Against De Minaur he twice needed treatment, first after holding serve to lead 4-3 in the opening set and again after he had been broken to trail 5-4.

“I knew I was probably not going to be at 100 per cent physically, emotionally, mentally game-wise in the opening week of the season,” Djokovic added.

“Neither did I expect that or want that to be honest. It’s all a part of the build-up for the Australian Open.”

Despite Djokovic’s fitness concerns, De Minaur produced an impressive performance to seal one of the biggest wins of his career in just over an hour-and-a-half.

Ajla Tomljanovic followed De Minaur’s win by beating Serbia’s Natalija Stevanovic 6-1 6-1 to clinch Australia’s semi-final place.

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