'Always does it': Rival fumes over dodgy Novak Djokovic tactics

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Novak Djokovic is pictured getting treatment on his shoulder during a medical timeout at the French Open.
Novak Djokovic has been criticised for calling for a medical timeout after his fourth round opponent, Pablo Correna Busta, won the first set in their showdown. (Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Pablo Carreno Busta has called out Novak Djokovic’s tactic of calling for a medical time-out for minor complaints as a strategy to halt his opponent’s momentum.

The Spaniard won the first set against the world No.1 in their fourth-round French Open clash, only for Djokovic to call for the timeout and subsequently win the following three sets.

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Djokovic’s time-out attracted scrutiny from fans, and when asked about it after the match, Carreno Busta said his rival’s call for medical attention was predictable.

“He didn’t surprise me. It’s a good thing,” he said.

“It’s a sign that he is losing and that I was playing well, because he always does that.

“Every time the match gets complicated, he asks for medical assistance.

“It’s something that he has been doing for years. When he is down, he asks for the trainer.

“I don’t know, maybe it’s the pressure or something that he needs to do it. But, I mean, he continues playing normal, no?

I don’t know if he’s (in) pain really or it’s mental. Ask him.”

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In his own interviews after the 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-4 victory over Carreno Busta, Djokovic was careful not to give too much detail away about any potential injury.

He went on to say he didn’t want to discuss the injury too much because he didn’t want to be seen to be complaining about it.

“It didn't feel great but I don't really want to talk about that in detail, it sounds like complaining," he said.

“He (Carreno Busta) was the better player for the first half, he made all the shots.

“I definitely didn't feel great for an hour, an hour and a half. I don't recommend this (hitting his arms) to anybody at home.

Novak Djokovic meets Pablo Carreno Busta at the net following victory in their Men's Singles quarterfinals match at the French Open. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Novak Djokovic meets Pablo Carreno Busta at the net following victory in their Men's Singles quarterfinals match at the French Open. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

“But I found a rhythm in the second set, faced some break points and then won 7-8 games in a row.

“This kind of match is decided in a few moments and I'm really pleased I got there mentally.

“I had some neck issues and some shoulder issues. I’ll just say that.

“I mean, I don’t want to get really too much into it. Obviously I’m still in the tournament, so I don’t want to reveal too much.”

Djokovic's semi-final opponent Tsitsipas stormed into the last four with a clinical 7-5 6-2 6-3 victory over Andrey Rublev.

Tsitsipas's only moments of concern came in the opening set when Russian Rublev, the 13th seed, made a brisk opening to lead 5-3.

Yet four games later, Rublev had surrendered the set, and barely more than an hour later, he had lost the match, winning only five more games in what proved a one-sided encounter with the No.5 seed.

"I've been feeling really comfortable on this court and despite a bad start and being a break down I remembered what a big fighter I am," Tsitsipas told the sparse crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier afterwards.

With AAP

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