Injured Djokovic reveals: 'I almost quit'

·2-min read

Craig Tiley is confident world No.1 Novak Djokovic will recover from injury to keep his quest for a ninth Australian Open title alive.

Djokovic revealed after his narrow round three escape on Friday night that his tournament was in the balance because of a stomach injury.

The champion says that, "god willing", he hopes to line up in Sunday's fourth round match with big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic despite the suspected torn stomach muscle that almost derailed him against American Taylor Fritz on Friday.

His coach Goran Ivanisevic said the Serbian didn't train at Melbourne Park on Saturday and instead went for a scan off-site.

Australian Open boss Tiley was convinced Djokovic would play, with the top seed scheduled for the second night match against Raonic on Rod Laver Arena.

"You will see him," Tiley said.

"He's resilient, he's tough and he will get the appropriate treatment."

Yet Djokovic offered a fairly gloomy prognosis when asked on Eurosport what his chances were.

"Let's see," he said with a shrug to the presenter, former three-time champion Mats Wilander.

"I don't have a great experience with (muscle) tears in terms of continuing in tournaments so it's kind of in the clouds for me at the moment whether I'm going to step out on the court in two days.

"I'm a bit worried because I don't know what's going on. I think it's a tear ... Hopefully, god willing, I'll be able to play."

Djokovic said he was in agony and called for the trainer during the third set.

"I knew right away that something not so great was happening," reflected the world No.1.

"I don't want to talk about the intensity or the level of injury and pain; it's not going to matter much because people don't understand what you go through on the court," he said.

"But the way it felt definitely at the beginning of that third set when I got my first medical time-out, I was debating really strongly in my head to retire because I couldn't move, I couldn't rotate, I couldn't return.

"The only thing I could do is serve - and that's what got me out of the trouble."

Djokovic said he felt his 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 3-6 4-6 6-2 victory under these circumstances was "one of the best moments I've had in my career."