Novak Djokovic suffered an abdominal tear during his third round match against Taylor Fritz at the Australian Open. Despite having managed to win the tournament for the ninth time in his career, the world number 1 admitted that the tear has expanded with the passing of days, expanding from 1.7 cm at the beginning up to 2.5 cm at the end of the Happy Slam.
The 33-year-old Serbian showed clear signs of pain against both Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev, but starting from the semifinal his body started to recover and his mobility returned to what allowed him to beat the competition.
The Belgrade veteran gave a super performance in the final, leaving the misery of nine games in total to poor Daniil Medvedev (considered the favorite on the eve of many bookmakers). The well-known 'Punto de Break' portal contacted an ATP physiotherapist to shed light on how Nole managed to win a Grand Slam despite a significant tear.
On the other hand, there have been many criticisms that have rained down on Djokovic in the last ten days.
ATP physio on Novak Djokovic's injury
"I personally don't know anyone with a tear (who) can hit the ball (like Novak Djokovic)," the ATP physio said.
"The Novak Djokovic thing, leads me to think that he is made of something else or that the tear is shallow. It should not be very deep because if not, it is almost impossible to move and less, to hit a ball," the physio added.
"He (Novak Djokovic) has done it, I don't know how, but he has done it." According to the ATP physio, a tear going against the grain of the muscle fibers would have made it impossible for Novak Djokovic to keep playing.
He went on to add, however, that even a tear in the same direction would have still been immensely painful for the Serb. "The first thing to know is that in the abdominal muscle there are fibers pointing in a thousand directions.
It is not like other muscles in other areas. Therefore, it is a very delicate area and very difficult to treat," the physio said. "When you have a tear, you have to see in which direction it occurs. If it is against the grain, I would tell you that it is almost impossible to play.
If it occurs in the same direction, it could be played, but with a lot of pain." The ATP physio all but confirmed this, and added that the ideal way to treat such a condition is 'enriched plasma treatment' - a procedure that he claims hasn’t been carried out in professional tennis yet.
"It is probable that the ATP doctors gave him some oral analgesic measures to alleviate the pain," the physio continued. "The normal thing in these cases is an enriched plasma treatment to activate the metabolism of the area, but I don't think this has been done in competition."