Daniil Medvedev has been caught mocking Novak Djokovic in an apparent attempt to claim the Serbian star was faking injury. Djokovic called a medical timeout and left the court for treatment during his 6-3 6-4 win over Medvedev at the Adelaide International on Saturday night.
The World No.5 has since downplayed the injury, saying he felt something in his hamstring. But Medvedev appeared to accuse his opponent of foxing, grabbing his own hamstring after a long rally and smiling at his box.
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“I think Medvedev is insinuating that there’s nothing wrong with Novak,” Aussie great John Fitzgerald said in commentary. “A wry smile, feeling his own hamstring up high ... Novak picks up on that, he won’t appreciate it.”
Speaking after the match, Djokovic said he took some anti-inflammatories and the issue was "nothing too serious". He added: "If it was, I wouldn't have been able to continue. Hopefully, tomorrow it will be all fine.
"I'm not going to talk about it too much because I don't think it's appropriate. I don't want to reveal too much of what's happening.
"I felt a pulling on the hamstring and I needed some medical timeout and I got one. After that when the pills kicked in, I guess, after few games when it was warm enough, it felt okay.
"Let's see how it feels when I wake up tomorrow. Obviously, playing day-by-day, having a little bit of an injury, it's not ideal. But it's not the first time that I get to experience specific circumstances like this one. I know what to do with my team, with my physio. Hopefully, it will feel good. Let's see. I don't have so much time, but I hope enough."
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Medvedev was all class after the match, embracing Djokovic warmly at the net. He then heaped praise on his 35-year-old rival after a ninth loss in 13 matches against Djokovic.
"I need to be better. That's it," he said. "That's the only thing I can do because sometimes he's unstoppable. You need to play the match of your life to beat him.
"Where some other players would not be able to do it, how does he do it? No idea ... Novak is different league. 21 slams, that's all what we have to say."
Djokovic's win over Medvedev marked his 33rd in a row in Australia dating back to his shock loss to Hyeon Chung in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park in 2018. He was infamously deported from the country before the Australian Open in 2022, with great rival Rafa Nadal winning the title in his absence.
But with World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz pulling out of the Australian Open on Saturday and Nadal struggling for form, Djokovic will head into the grand slam tournament as the short-priced favourite. A 10th Australian Open title would draw Djokovic level with Nadal on 22 career majors.
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