Novak Djokovic's coach opens up in shock reveal about Australian Open injury

Novak Djokovic's coach, Goran Ivanisevic, rates his charge's Australian Open victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas as one of his best.

Novak Djokovic holds the Australian Open trophy on the left, and his coach Goran Ivanisevic gestures during a press conference on the right.
Novak Djokovic won his 10th Australian Open after suffering an injury that coach Goran Ivanisevic says would have ruled out most other competitors. Pictures: Getty Images

Novak Djokovic never ceases to amaze his coach Goran Ivanisevic, with the longtime mentor of the now 10-time Australian Open champion hailing his latest victory as one of his best. Emotions were overflowing in the player's box after Djokovic's victory, 12 months after being denied entry to Australia for the previous year's grand slam.

Despite the dominant 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas to extend his unparalleled record at Melbourne Park, Djokovic spent much of the tournament battling an injured hamstring. Further distractions came after his father, Srdjan Djokovic, was criticised after posing for photographs with pro-Russia demonstrators outside Rod Laver Arena.

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Ivanisevic rated Djokovic's 10th Australian Open title as 'definitely his best' grand slam victory, with the aforementioned injury crucial to why he held it in such esteem. The coach had been 'scared' during Djokovic's third round victory over Grigor Dimitrov, fearful his tournament run could end at any moment and jeopardise the rest of his season.

“This is definitely the best win for Novak. Not just because of what happened last year, but also because of the last three weeks," he said. "I thought I’d seen everything when he won here in 2021, but this one was unbelievable. To play like that everyday, better and better, it’s so impressive.

“97% of the players would have pulled out upon the MRI scan. He’s from another planet, the way he works. He gave everything. I didn’t expect this; I was shocked. Against Dimitrov, I was scared, but he came through it all."

Djokovic's father, absent from his semi-final victory over Tommy Paul after the earlier furore, also elected not to attend the final against Tsitsipas. His absence had hurt Djokovic in that match, giving up a 5-1 set lead at one stage before recovering for a straight sets victory.

"He was more emotional against Tommy Paul. He collapsed a little from 5-1 up, and that’s something he doesn’t normally do," Ivanisevic said. "Things happen, and fortunately, he was able to win the tournament despite everything.

“I learn new things about him all the time; he’s getting crazier and crazier. The guy is unbelievable. He’s won 10 Australian Opens.

“I think he can stay at the top level for two or three more years. He takes care of his body; it’s amazing. The level is incredible."

Novak Djokovic lets emotions out after 10th Australian Open victory

Djokovic was overcome with emotion after the match and began crying uncontrollably when he went to celebrate with his player's box immediately after the victory. He shared in a beautiful embrace with his mother and brother, but the Serb's father had decided not to come after being wrapped up in a pro-Russia controversy earlier in the tournament.

Despite being given the green light to attend Rod Laver Arena for his son's final against Tsitsipas, Srdjan Djokovic opted to stay away after discussions with his son. Speaking after clinching his 10th Australian Open title, the 22-time major winner said it filled him with sadness that his dad wasn't present to share in his historic achievement.

"I thought the things will calm down in terms of media and everything, but it didn't. We both agreed it would probably be better that he is not there," Djokovic told reporters about his father's absence. "That hurts me and him a lot because these are very special, unique moments. Who knows if they repeat again. So it was not easy for him.

"I saw him after the match, of course. Yeah, he was not feeling his best, let's say, even though he was very happy to hug me and of course with everything."

The 35-year-old admitted that it was a brutally difficult decision for he and his father to make. Ultimately though, the Serb was content that it was the right one.

Pro-Russia demonstrators are pictured left, and Srdjan Djokovic on the right.
Srdjan Djokovic issued a statement and ultimately did not attend the Australian Open final, after being photographed with disruptive Russia supporters outside the tournament. Pictures: Twitter/Getty Images

"Look, it is what it is. I think in the end also what he told me is that it's important that I feel good on the court, I win the match, and he's here for me," Djokovic added. If it's going to be better for me as the outcome of the match so that he's not in the box, then so be it. We talked. That was the whole conversation.

"In a way, I'm also sad that he was not there, present, in the stands. But he was throughout the entire tournament, so it's fine. In the end, we have a happy ending."

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