Novak Djokovic is tiptoeing through his training sessions at the Australian Open as a hamstring injury cramps the style of the nine-time Melbourne champion.
The Serb who has shaken up his physio team confessed to worries about his injury as he heads into a second-round match against No. 191 Enzo Couacaud of France.
Djokovic is taking heart from his 2021 title victory here, which he earned while playing with a torn abdominal muscle.
“Well, the situation is similar to the one two years ago here. When you do not have a lot of recovery time, you need to do everything in your power to be prepared – that means less practice and more rest.”
The 35-year-old said his training sessions have been staged at half-strength this week.
“I was maybe at 50 per cent. In the warm-up ahead of the match, I tried to go harder and it was all right – not ideal, but all right.
“Let’s see what happens when the effect of medications and anti-inflammatory pills vanishes.”
He warned: “There is probably going to be a big inflammation.”
But the 21-time Grand Slam winner has found a silver lining to his worries.
“”One day of rest between the matches at Slams gives me the possibility to regenerate, and the experience from two years ago helps me a lot.
“My leg felt better in the third set (of his first-round win) – it is usually the other way around if the injury is worsening.“