In the last few days, you have had a lot of discussion about the extent of Novak Djokovic’s abdominal injury. The world number 1 seemed really close to retiring against Taylor Fritz in the third round, but he had almost miraculously managed to win the fifth set thanks to the gifts of the young American.
The Serbian phenomenon had spoken of a tear at the end of the match, a diagnosis that would certainly have ousted him from the tournament. Against all odds, the 33-year-old from Belgrade not only returned to the pitch, but beat both Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev in four sets to break the pass for the semi-finals.
Needless to say, there have been multiple controversies towards Nole, guilty according to some of having accentuated the gravity of his physical problem. The 17-time Grand Slam champion, on the hunt for his ninth title at the Australian Open, refused to reveal the results of the exams he underwent to the media.
In an interview with World Wide of Sports, former Australian player Sam Groth expressed serious doubts about Djokovic's attitude.
Groth on Novak Djokovic's injury
“I mean, is Novak Djokovic injured? I don’t know,” Sam Groth said.
“He says he’s injured and comes out and plays matches. No, well, if he is (injured), it’s not hindering him because he won in five against Fritz with an injury," Groth said. "He beat last night, Zverev - an amazing opponent - I thought that was gonna be a tough match, and it turned out to be.
But you don’t play those sort of physical encounters and get through them like he is if the injury is hampering you to a point where you cant play. I’m not saying he’s not injured, but it can’t be that bad if you’re able to go five sets, four sets, four sets, that’s my opinion,” Groth said.
The Australian further cited the examples of Casper Ruud and Matteo Berrettini - two players who suffered a similar injury to that of Novak Djokovic. Ruud had to retire midway through his fourth-round match against Andrey Rublev, while Berrettini handed Stefanos Tsitsipas a walkover.
“You’ve seen players pull out, you’ve seen Casper Ruud pull out, Berrettini pull out, Dimitrov struggled yesterday with an injury,” Groth said. “Five sets is a true test of physicality, the mental, the technical, the tactical, and at the moment Novak’s said he’s got an injury but still seems to be holding up just fine and over five sets."
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