Novak Djokovic thinks he will be 'fit' for Australian Open after injury
Novak Djokovic lost his first match in Australia since 2018 when Alex de Minaur ended the Serb's 43-match winning streak.
De Minaur defeated Djokovic 4-6 4-6 in his first defeat in the country since his fourth-round loss to Hyeon Chung at the 2018 Australian Open.
Ajla Domljanovic followed this up with a decisive win over Natalija Stevanovic to ensure Australia progressed to the semi-finals of the United Cup.
However, much of the post-match chatter revolved around Djokovic's possible wrist injury, prompting the world No.1 to call the coach for the second match in a row.
While Djokovic admitted it affected his performance, he didn't dwell on his inability to retain his Australian Open title, saying, “I think I'll be fine, to be honest. But, you know, it had a lot of impact, you know, especially on the forehand and the serve.
The 36-year-old continued. I mean, he was very solid as always, congratulations to him [and] For the Australian team. And, you know, it's for us. I think we'll move forward with my thoughts on Melbourne.
“In the opening week of the season, I knew I wasn't going to be 100% physically, emotionally, mentally, game-wise. I didn't expect that either. To be honest I don't like it either. It's part of the build-up to the Australian Open, you know, so I want to be at my best. Again, you know, losing a match is never good, but, you know, it's not going to stick with me too much.
It was the first time de Minaur had beaten Djokovic, and the world No.12 won 97% of his first serve points and did not face a single break point throughout the match.
And Djokovic was very complimentary of his Australian opponent, saying, “He was very determined from the start. He played a great match [and] Deserves to win.
“Yeah, I wasn't at my level, but, you know, you don't feel your best on the court these days. [and] Your opponent played well. That's all I can say. I have enough time to get myself in shape for the Australian Open and that is the most important thing at this stage.
Crazy day 😅 Thank you so much for all the support 🙏
— Alex Deminaur (@alexdeminaur) January 3, 2024
With the first major of the year starting on Sunday 14 January, Djokovic now travels from Perth to Melbourne in pursuit of an 11th Australian Open title.
Inside the basement…
It's rare to see Novak Djokovic lose, let alone in Australia, so it's understandable why Serbian fans are worried about his wrist. However, if anyone knows how to manage his body, it will be Djokovic, and he will have a great team around him to monitor his progress. A lot of credit has to go to De Minaur, as many players would have lost to a more constrained Djokovic, and the Aussie managed to hold his nerve throughout.
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