'97% of players would have withdrawn, but not Novak Djokovic,' says Ivanisevic
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 3122
Novak Djokovic competed at the Australian Open for the 18th time and claimed his tenth title at Melbourne Park! Unable to play at his beloved event a year ago, Novak made a perfect return and lifted the trophy following a 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday's final.
Djokovic lost only one set in seven matches, struggling more with a hamstring injury than against the rivals on the court. Novak injured his left leg in Adelaide and did not look good after an MRI. Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanisevic stated that 97% of the players would have withdrawn from the Australian Open, but not his player!
Goran praised Novak as someone from another space, honoring his commitment and the will to fight and endure all the challenges. We can split Djokovic's tournament into two parts. At first, his left leg bothered him greatly in the opening three rounds, with the entire team not knowing what to expect.
Novak beat Roberto Carballes Baena in the first round and faced a qualifier Enzo Couacaud in the second. Djokovic struggled with pain in the second set, losing it in the tie break and shifting into a higher gear in sets three and four to pass a tough obstacle.
Grigor Dimitrov was his next rival, and they battled hard in the first set. The Bulgarian had his chances and squandered them, allowing the Serb to win in straight sets and preserve energy. Despite a 3-0 triumph, Novak did not know what to expect in the next clash against Alex de Minaur.
Meanwhile, his entire team gave their 120% to recover his body, with a doctor flying from Belgrade to care for his left leg. Whatever they did, it worked perfectly, with Djokovic playing as a different player from round four!
He stormed over de Minaur and had no issues against Andrey Rublev in the semi-final. Thus, Novak entered his familiar territory, never losing at the Australian Open from the semi-final stage! Djokovic ousted Tommy Paul in straight sets after some issues in the opener, advancing into the title clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Goran Ivanisev spoke about Novak Djokovic's injury.
Novak remained perfect in the Australian Open finals following a 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 victory in two hours and 56 minutes. Djokovic played better in the decisive moments to secure one of his most significant victories ever.
The Serb grabbed two breaks and got broken once at the start of the third set. Stefanos squandered a set point on the return at 5-4 in the second set and fell in both tie breaks to finish runner-up in his second Major final.
Novak fired 36 winners and 22 unforced errors and had a massive advantage in the mid-range rallies, earning his victory in that segment. Djokovic grabbed a break in the encounter's fourth game following Tsitsipas' double fault.
Novak served well and landed a service winner in the ninth game for 6-3 in 36 minutes. Stefanos fought well in the second set and earned his first break point at 5-4. Novak saved a set point with a forehand down the line winner and gained confidence.
The Serb clinched a tie break 7-4 with a service winner to move closer to the finish line after an hour and 46 minutes. Novak lost his focus at the start of the third set and placed a backhand wide to experience a break. Stefanos did not stay in front for too long after getting broken in game two.
Tsitsipas served to stay in the match at 4-5 and landed two winners at 30-30 to prolong the battle. They served well in games 11 and 12 and introduced the second tie break. Novak grabbed two mini-breaks and raced into a 5-0 lead, using his vast experience and the advantage from the previous sets.
The Serb lost the following three points before creating three match points with a forehand down the line winner at 5-3. Stefanos denied the first two with fine hitting, and Novak sealed the deal on the third at 6-5 to emerge at the top and write history.
"I do not say that 100% of the players would have retired at Novak's place. However, 97% of them would have gone straight to the referee's office and pulled out of the tournament with those MRI results. Novak is from another space, and his brain works differently.
I have been with him for four years, and it still surprises me how his brain works. He gave everything and endured 77 therapies a day. His injury was getting better every day, and I was shocked by his progress; I did not expect that. I was very scared against Grigor, but Novak got through and won the tournament," Goran Ivanisevic said.