Novak Djokovic admits injury ‘surprise’ after Australian Open semi-final

Australian Open: Novak Djokovic discusses injury issues

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Novak Djokovic has admitted he was surprised to play without pain during Thursday’s Australian Open semi-final win over Aslan Karatsev. World No 1 Djokovic beat Russian qualifier Karatsev in straight sets at Rod Laver Arena. He will now play either Stefanos Tsitsipas or Daniil Medvedev in the final on Sunday.

Djokovic has been struggling with an injury to his abdomen in recent matches.

The Serbian suffered the problem during his third round win over Taylor Fritz.

Djokovic’s participation for the remainder of the tournament was thrown into doubt as the issue continued to hamper him in matches against Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev.

But the 33-year-old was surprised the pain had ceased during Thursday’s victory over Karatsev.

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“Well, yes and no,” Djokovic said at his post-match press conference.

“I am surprised the way I felt tonight. I think it surpassed, in a way, my greatest wishes and the way I wanted to feel.

“But at the same time, you know, I did have a kind of similar experience in the past where I was managing to recover pretty quickly.

“You know, each one of us players is different. I just have, of course with the help of all the people around me, this pretty good way and ability to recover fast.

“But I didn’t think that I’ll play without pain tonight.

“And I did play without pain, which is something that definitely surprised me in a positive way.”

Speaking on Sunday, Djokovic admitted the injury could have an adverse effect on his participation in upcoming tournaments.

“It will jeopardise, you know, depending on how I go here, it will jeopardise certain tournaments that are coming after the Australian Open that I was maybe thinking to play,” he said.

“So I’ll probably have to, you know, take a little bit more time than I was previously thinking and heal, recover, and then get back on the tour.”

However, he will be relieved the problem has, for now, gone away.

Speaking after the semi-final win, Djokovic said he had no preference of who he would rather face in the final.

“Speaking of a high level, Medvedev is the guy,” he said in his on-court interview.

“Probably plays at the highest level in the last three or four months.

“He is on a winning streak, winning indoors tournaments, World Tour Finals. He had one Grand Slam final at US Open against Rafa and Stefanos has never reached a Grand Slam final so it is going to be interesting to see them play.

“I am going to take the popcorn and enjoy it. I have absolutely zero preference who makes the final – I am going to enjoy it.”

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