Novak Djokovic clamped down on any details concerning the injury which almost forced him from the Australian Open last week.
The top seed who is bidding for a ninth title at Melbourne Park refused to divulge anything after completing a miracle recovery, reaching his ninth final here 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 over standout Russian qualifier Asian Karatsev.
” I’m not gonna speak about it – only at the end of the tournament,” Djokovic said of the “abdominal strain” which he claimed last Friday night after struggling to a win over Taylor Fritz in the third round.
At the time, the Serb said he might not be able to play on at his most successful Grand Slam.
But that appeared to be a clever hedging strategy:
The 17-time champion at the majors proceeded to produce wins over Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev before knocking out tournament surprise packet Karatsev on Thursday.
“I’m surprised the way I felt tonight. I think it surpassed, in a way, my
greatest wishes (about how) I wanted to feel,” Djokovic said.
“But I’ve had similar experiences in the past where I was managing to
recover pretty quickly.”
Djokovic clinched victory over the first qualifier to get this far at a Grand Slam with his 17th ace of an evening when up to 9,600 fans were allowed back onto the grounds after a five-day COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne.
Djokov gave credit to his mainly Balkan support team, who are adept at letting nothing by way of sensitive tactical information slip out.
“Each of us players are different. I have the help of all the people around me plus the ability to recover fast,” the world No. 1 said.
“i didn’t think that I would play without pain tonight – but I did play without pain, which is something that definitely surprised me in a positive way.”
He added: “I felt the best that I could possibly feel tonight. I’ve played so many Grand Slams and had some phenomenal tournaments where I managed to maybe drop one set or no set en route to finals
“I’ve had some where it’s a couple of five-setters to reach the final. It’s definitely very unique circumstances that I have experienced here.”
Main photo:- Novak Djokovic called for a Medical timeout during win over Taylor Fritz by Tennis Australia/ ROB PREZIOSO