Djokovic reveals his documentary release date and reflects on Nadal’s injury, similar to the one he had in 2021

Having suffered an abdominal tear in the midst of his 2021 Australian Open campaign, Novak Djokovic gives his insights into Rafael Nadal’s situation after the Spaniard pulled out of Wimbledon this year

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal about abdominal injuries Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon 2022 and Djokovic during a medical time-out at the 2021 Australian Open (© Panoramic / Tennis Majors)

At the Australian Open 2021, Novak Djokovic tore a muscle in his abdomen during his third round match with Taylor Fritz, but still went on to win the title.

Djokovic did not practice on his days off and he spent almost every non-sleeping hour getting treated by his physiotherapist Ulises Badio.

As Rafael Nadal withdrew from Wimbledon before his semi-final match against Nick Kyrgios because of an abdominal tear, Djokovic was asked by Serbian reporters to compare his situation with Nadal’s.  

Novak Djokovic with Ulises Badio, Miami Open
Novak Djokovic on the practice court prior to the start of the Miami Open Tennis Tournament with Ulises Badio | © Panoramic

“I do not know what exactly is the nature of Rafa’s injury. I heard that it is an abdominal muscle tear, but I do not know which muscle. I tore an oblique muscle on my left side during the match against Fritz. It is clear that it is extremely hard to play under those conditions, but the whole process depends on where exactly the tear is. Personally, I had the most pain while serving”, Djokovic said.

Although it sounds crazy, I felt better as the time went by. An MRI scan showed that the tear got bigger !

Novak Djokovic on his 2021 Australian Open

The Serb went on to add: “Together with my physiotherapist Uli, we managed to handle it to a degree that allowed me to play. Although it sounds crazy, I felt better as the time went by. An MRI scan showed that the tear got bigger, but we managed to numb the pain – I was not feeling it during matches, which allowed me to go all the way”.

Djokovic admired the way Nadal was able to find his way to victory in the quarter-finals against Fritz.  

Rafael Nadal
Spain’s Rafael Nadal reacts during his quarter final match against Taylor Fritz of the U.S. (AI/Reuters/Panoramic)

“Injuries are the worst enemy of every athlete. I give Nadal a lot of credit for the way he fought and won that quarterfinals match with that injury. He is the one who knows his body the best, so the decision whether to continue or not was always up to him. It is very sad that a tournament so big as Wimbledon did not have a second semi-final, but it is what it is”. 

You will be able to see everything in that documentary. People can watch and then they can form an opinion.


Going back to the 2021 Australian Open, Djokovic reiterated that his whole journey at the Australian Open was recorded as a part of the documentary that should finally be released this year. 

Djokovic’s documentary for the end of 2022

“At the time, I recorded everything that was happening, if the aim of your question was whether some people believed that it was possible to play with that kind of injury – I can say that it was extremely difficult. I drank every painkiller there is in this world, had every possible therapy and treatment, was hooked up to machines – as I said earlier, you will be able to see everything in that documentary. People can watch and then they can form an opinion”.

“Various reasons delayed the documentary, but we finished shooting one month ago. The material is now being edited, so the premiere should be after the US Open, in October or November”, Djokovic concluded. 

On Sunday, Djokovic will play Nick Kyrgios for his seventh Wimbledon title – which would see him equal his childhood idol Pete Sampras and William Renshaw – as well as his 21st Grand Slam title overall.

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