Novak Djokovic advanced to the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday at Melbourne Park, but the Serbian did not move through unscathed.
Having entered the tournament with a left hamstring injury suffered in Adelaide, the former World No. 1 was already on alert. But against Enzo Couacaud, Djokovic had his left leg wrapped and had moments in which his movement was visibly compromised.
“I’m glad that I managed to win this match, of course, in four sets. Credit to Enzo for playing well, very well, I think in the second set. A lot of things were happening during this match. It was obvious him and I had some injuries, medical timeouts,” Djokovic said. “My situation with my injury is not ideal. I obviously don’t want to go too deep into that. I wish that some things were different with the way I feel with my leg, but it is what it is. I have to take it day by day.”
Djokovic has battled through physical issues before and lifted the trophy at the end of the tournament. But the nine-time Australian Open champion admitted that the injury is at the very least at the forefront of his mind. He explained that he is “not practising basically” on his days off between matches.
“I am worried. I mean, I cannot say that I’m not. I have reason to be worried. But at the same time I have to accept the circumstances and try to adjust myself with my team. My physio and medical team has been doing everything possible so that I can be able to play every match,” Djokovic said. “There’s not much more to talk about. There’s two choices: leave it or keep going. So I’m going to keep going. I’m going to try to play and compete with, of course, a great player [Grigor] Dimitrov in a couple days’ time.”
The fourth seed will next face 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov, against whom he owns a 9-1 ATP Head2Head advantage. Djokovic understands that such matches are not easy under normal circumstances, forget with an injury.
“I know matches are only going to get tougher for me from here. Two years ago I had kind of similar circumstances here in Australia with a different muscle where I had a tear and I had to deal with that. Somehow I pushed it through and won the tournament,” Djokovic said. “But it’s different now, obviously. I don’t know how my body’s going to react. I hope for the best.”