Ex-Australian Open boss notices something very worrisome about Novak Djokovic

Djokovic routinely won his Australian Open round-of-16 match but Paul McNamee noticed something worrisome.

by Dzevad Mesic
Ex-Australian Open boss notices something very worrisome about Novak Djokovic
© Getty Images Sport - Daniel Pockett

Former Australian Open tournament director Paul McNamee fears Novak Djokovic may be dealing with something after never seeing a player's team box "so concerned" despite its player being up big. 

In the Australian Open round-of-16, Djokovic dismantled world No. 19 Adrian Mannarino 6-0 6-0 6-3. Score-wise, it was a great day at the office for defending Australian Open champion Djokovic.

But McNamee, who was the Australian Open tournament director from 1995 until 2006, noticed something very strange with Djokovic leading 5-0 in the first set. After seeing the reactions from coach Goran Ivanisevic and the rest of the team, McNamee concluded that Djokovic "was clearly not well."

Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic© Getty Images Sport - Daniel Pockett

Also, McNamee believes Djokovic extraordinary mental strength did its job against Mannarino but remains concerned that "there will be limits."

"In all my time, I’ve never seen a player box so concerned at 5 love up first set than Goran & co in Djokovic’ box… he’s clearly not well… what mental fortitude to be able to push through it, but there will be limits," McNamee wrote on X.

Novak Djokovic box
Novak Djokovic box© Getty Images Sport - Daniel Pockett

Is Djokovic injured?

Leading up to the Australian Open, Djokovic dealt with a wrist injury but it has seemed fine so far during this Australian Open. 

After kicking off his Melbourne Park run with back-to-back four-set wins over Dino Prizmic and Adrian Mannarino, Djokovic sealed a straight-set win over Tomas Martin Etcheverry. After his first straight-set win at this year's Australian Open, Djokovic revealed that he has been battling "a regular viral infection."

On Tuesday, record 24-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic will be taking on Taylor Fritz in the Australian Open quarterfinal. Against 12th-ranked Fritz, Djokovic has a perfect 8-0 head-to-head.

Novak Djokovic and Taylor Fritz
Novak Djokovic and Taylor Fritz© Getty Images Sport - Quinn Rooney

In 2021, Djokovic famously overcame a mid-match abdominal tear to beat Taylor Fritz in the Australian Open third round before he also went on to win the tournament. 

It remains to be seen how will Djokovic look on the court against Fritz and if he can clinch his ninth win over the American for a semifinal spot at Melbourne Park.

Australian Open Novak Djokovic Paul Mcnamee