Novak Djokovic at centre of worrying scenes ahead of Australian Open

The Serbian tennis star has sent a scare through fans and organisers just days out from the Melbourne Park grand slam.

Novak Djokovic, pictured here during his win over Daniil Medvedev at the Adelaide International.
Novak Djokovic picked up a leg injury during his win over Daniil Medvedev at the Adelaide International. Image: Getty

Novak Djokovic is keeping his cards close to his chest after sending a scare through fans with an injury concern ahead of the Australian Open. Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev on Saturday night to advance to the Adelaide International final, however he appeared to pick up a hamstring injury in the process.

Djokovic called for a medical timeout and left the court in the first set before going on to beat top rival Medvedev 6-3 6-4. Speaking in his post-match press conference, the World No.5 played down the incident.

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"Thankfully, it was nothing too serious," he said, explaining that he went off court to take some anti-inflammatories. "If it was, I wouldn't have been able to continue. Hopefully, tomorrow it will be all fine."

Djokovic has less than 24 hours to back up for the final against Sebastian Korda, before the Australian Open begins on January 16. He was in no mood to discuss the injury after winning his 33rd straight match in Australia.

"Look, 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," he said. "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."

Novak Djokovic, pictured here stretching his hamstring during his win over Daniil Medvedev at the Adelaide International.
Novak Djokovic stretches his hamstring during his win over Daniil Medvedev at the Adelaide International. (Photo by Sarah Reed/Getty Images)

Djokovic is no stranger to winning tournaments while managing injuries. He famously won the Australian Open in 2021 after suffering a torn abdominal muscle in the third round against Taylor Fritz.

Medvedev, who lost his ninth match in 13 attempts against Djokovic, said he needed to get better to have any hope of winning the Australian Open. The Russian star was left marvelling at his 35-year-old opponent.

"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."

Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic, pictured here after their match in Adelaide.
Daniil Medvedev and Novak Djokovic after their match in Adelaide. (Photo by Sarah Reed/Getty Images)

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Djokovic has never faced Korda - a rising American star and 22-year-old son of Czech hero Petr Korda, who won the Australian Open in 1998. He said of his opponent in the final: "One of the players that has kind of the cleanest striking technique that you can see on the tour. I mean, he's so talented.

"Everything seems just effortless with him. The way he plays, the way he moves on the court, just beautiful-looking tennis ..."

Djokovic's win over Medvedev was his 33rd in a row in Australia since his shock loss to Hyeon Chung in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park in 2018. With World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz pulling out of the Australian Open on Saturday and Rafa Nadal struggling for form, Djokovic has emerged as the red-hot favourite to win his 10th title at Melbourne Park.

But Djokovic's camp, fans and organisers will be hoping injury issues don't ruin that.

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with AAP

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