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“Hopefully it won’t cause an issue for me then” – Djokovic on hamstring injury heading into next week’s Australian Open

Djokovic is a nine-time Australian Open champion and will attempt to tie Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles in Melbourne over the next fortnight

Novak Djokovic speaks to the media at the 2023 Australian Open Novak Djokovic speaks to the media at the 2023 Australian Open Image Credit: AI/Reuters/Panoramic

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic is hopeful that the hamstring injury that he picked up on the way to winning the Adelaide title won’t be a big concern as he begins his chase for a record-extending 10th Australian Open title in Melbourne next week.

Twelve months after he was deported out of the country, Djokovic returned to a warm reception in Australia. The Serb won the 92nd singles title of his career last week but a hamstring injury he sustained during the latter rounds was top of mind for most of his fans over the past few days.

Speaking to the press in Melbourne on Media Day on Saturday, the 21-time Grand Slam champion said he is being cautious but is hopeful that the injury won’t be an issue once the tournament gets underway.

“Well, I’ve been struggling with that a bit, to be honest, the last seven days. But it’s hopefully not the major concern. So far I’ve been able to train, compete and play points, practice sets. So that’s a positive sign. Obviously, I’m being a bit more cautious. I’m not going full out on the training sessions, conserving the energy for next week. Hopefully it won’t cause an issue for me then.”

I’m really looking forward to play in front of the people and hopefully bring them some good fun and good vibes.

Djokovic

The Serb, who played a charity match against local favourite Nick Kyrgios on Rod Laver Arena on Friday, said it was emotional coming back on to the court where he has had the most Grand Slam success in his career.

“I was very emotional honestly coming into the court because, as I said on the on-court interview, with the reception that I received, I didn’t know how that’s going to go like after events of last year. I’m very grateful for the kind of energy and reception, love and support I got last night,” Djokovic added.

“Well, you have to (move on). I mean, in a way, if I do hold the grudges, probably if I’m not able to move on, I wouldn’t be here. Also, I have to say that the amount of positive experiences I had in Australia overwhelm the negative experience maybe of last year. My impression of Australia, my vision of Australia, has always been very positive, and that has reflected on my performance. My results are a testament to how you feel here. I’m really looking forward to play in front of the people and hopefully bring them some good fun and good vibes.”

“I always like my chances” – Djokovic

Djokovic heads into the tournament just one shy of tying Rafael Nadal’s men’s singles record of 22 Grand Slam singles titles. The Serb said his desire to be the all-time great continues to motivate him.

“Of course, it is (motivation). I mean, that’s why I keep on playing professional tennis, competition tennis, because I want to be the best, I want to win the biggest tournaments in the world. There is no secret about it. It doesn’t get bigger than this. I’ve had plenty of success that hopefully can continue this year. I’m in a very good shape. I ended the year in the best possible way, and continued that form in Adelaide. I like the way I played there. I beat some really good players, especially in the last few matches of the tournament,” Djokovic said.

“I like my chances. I always like my chances. I train as hard as really anybody out there. There’s a lot of youngsters now that are very hungry, that want to win. They want to take a scalp off you on the big stadium. I know that. Experience of being in these kind of particular circumstances helps I think to have the right approach and do things in a proper way because I know when I’m healthy and playing my best, on this court I have chances really against anybody.”

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