Novak Djokovic answers if he is in wrist pain, makes one thing perfectly clear

Djokovic dealt with a wrist injury in his season-opener at the United Cup.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Novak Djokovic answers if he is in wrist pain, makes one thing perfectly clear
© Getty Images Sport - Phil Walter

Novak Djokovic has provided a very encouraging fitness update ahead of the Australian Open as the world No. 1 reveals he has been pain-free in practices at Melbourne Park this week. 

Djokovic, 36, kicked off his 2024 season by representing Serbia at the United Cup. After being hampered by a wrist injury during a three-set win over Jiri Lehecka, Djokovic's wrist troubles reappeared in his next match against de Minaur. But unlike against Lehecka, Djokovic wasn't able to overcome the issue and get a win against de Minaur, one of the reasons why Serbia suffered a United Cup quarterfinal loss to Australia. 

The match against de Minaur was played on January 3rd, which means the Serb had well over a week to address his wrist issue. It seemingly went exactly as Djokovic was hoping for as the 24-time Grand Slam champion isn't entering the first Grand Slam of the year in pain or discomfort.

"My wrist is good. I had time from the last match against de Minaur in the United Cup to my first match here to recover. I've been training well. Practice sessions pain-free so far. It's good. It's all looking good. Let's see how it goes," Djokovic said in his pre-tournament press conference at Melbourne Park.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Phil Walter
 

Djokovic acknowledges he has a history of winning the Australian Open injured

In 2021, Djokovic tore an abdominal muscle during his Australian Open third-round match against Talyor Fritz. After Djokovic sustained the injury, Fritz managed to get back into the match from a two-set deficit and force a decider. Still, Djokovic found a way to survive that match and beat Fritz in five sets.

After the match, the scans revealed that Djokovic suffered an abdominal tear. During those moments, Djokovic found himself in a very challenging and difficult situation. But Djokovic decided against pulling out of the tournament as he figured out not to practice on his off days and instead use every possible moment to get treatment by his physio. 

The method did wonders for Djokovic, who ended up winning the title after beating Daniil Medvedev in straight sets in the final. Later, Djokovic revealed his abdominal tear was initially 17mm before progressing to 25mm. 

Last year, Djokovic sustained a hamstring injury in his first tournament of the year at the Adelaide International. When the Australian Open started, Djokovic appeared to be in pain and discomfort on the court. But once again, Djokovic found a way to win at Melbourne Park and extend his Australian Open record to 10 titles.

After winning last year's Australian Open, Djokovic claimed he played through a 3cm hamstring tear.

“It’s not as bad as some other injuries I had here. 2021 and last year I had worse injuries that I had to deal with. I can’t predict whether it’s going to come back. Once I start playing more matches, stress levels go higher. I don’t know. We have to find out," Djokovic said.

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Phil Walter
 

Djokovic came to the Australian Open with a clear goal in his mind

When the 2023 season started, Djokovic was one Grand Slam title behind Rafael Nadal. After winning three Grand Slam titles last year, Djokovic enters the 2024 season as the all-time Slam recorder. 

While Djokovic owns the all-time Australian Open and Grand Slam records, he highlights that absolutely nothing has changed in his goals. With that being said, Djokovic is targeting to win his 11th Australian Open title and become the first player in tennis history male or female to reach 25 Grand Slams. 

“It’s no secret that I verbalize my goals and I say clearly that I want to win every slam that I play in. It’s no different this year," Djokovic underlined.

"I’m just hoping I can start the season in a way that I have been starting my seasons, most of my seasons, throughout my career: with a win here in Australia, in Melbourne. My favorite place, no doubt. The court where I’ve done great things and achieved my greatest grand slam results."

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Kelly Defina
 

Meanwhile, Djokovic is set to launch his Australian Open campaign by playing against Dino Prizmic. Prizmic, ranked at No. 178 in the world, won three qualifying matches at Melbourne Park this week to reach his first Australian Open main draw. 

When Djokovic and 18-year-old Prizmic meet, it is going to be the first meeting between the two. Going into the match, Djokovic is the absolute favorite to impose over Prizmic, who is set for his Grand Slam main draw debut.

For Djokovic, there is no doubt that he would like to stay pain-free in his opening first matches and get through them without any major difficulties. Djokovic is again considered the top favorite for the Australian Open title and it will be interesting in seeing if Djokovic can prolong his winning streak at Melbourne Park, which started in 2019.

Novak Djokovic
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