Novak Djokovic said he "drank all the painkillers in the world" to be able to finish his 2021 Australian Open campaign. In the 2021 Australian Open third round, Djokovic reptured one of his abdominal muscles. Djokovic was able to beat Taylor Fritz in five sets and progress into the last-16 but the rest of the tournament was a constant fight to be able to go out and compete in the next match.
In the end, Djokovic reached the final - in which he saw off Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to win a record ninth Australian Open title. This Wimbledon, Nadal sustained an abdominal tear and was forced to withdraw from his semifinal match versus Nick Kyrgios.
"I don't know exactly what kind of injury he (Nadal) has," Djokovic told Serbian reporters, per Sportskeeda. "From what I've heard, it's a torn stomach muscle - but I don't know which one. I experienced a rupture of a muscle on the left side, which ruptured in the third round against Fritz.
I wrote down everything that happened to me at the time, and if your question was aimed at the fact that some people did not believe that it was possible to play with such an injury - I can say that it is terribly difficult."
Djokovic: I drank all the painkillers to be able to go out there and compete
"I drank all the painkillers in the world and did every possible therapy and treatment," Djokovic added. "I was on machines, devices and I noted and recorded all of that in a documentary that will be broadcast by the end of the year.
Well, let people watch it and then they will be able to convince themselves of one or the other." Unfortunately for Djokovic, he didn't get a chance to defend his Australian Open title earlier this year. With Djokovic not competing, the Australian Open had a new champion for the first time since 2018 as Nadal won the title.
Djokovic remains unvaccinated against COVID-19 but he hasn't shut the door on the possibility of returning to Australia in the future.