World No 1 Novak Djokovic isn’t fretting about his wrist injury, saying he has time to get himself in top shape for his Australian Open defence.
Djokovic suffered a shock 6-4 6-4 loss to Australian Alex de Minaur at the United Cup in Perth on Wednesday night, ending Serbia’s bid to reach the semifinals.
The right wrist injury Djokovic carried into the match clearly affected him, with the 36-year-old committing a whopping 31 unforced errors and failing to create even a single break-point opportunity. He said the injury particularly affected his forehand and serve.
Djokovic tweaked his wrist while practising on Tuesday morning, but he’s confident it won’t derail his bid to win an unprecedented 11th Australian Open crown.
“I have enough time to get myself in the right shape for the Australian Open, and that’s what matters the most at this point,” Djokovic said.
“I think I’ll be okay. I knew that I probably wasn’t going to be at my 100 per cent physically, emotionally, mentally, game-wise in the opening week of a season. Neither did I expect that. Neither did I want that.
“It’s all a part of the build-up for the Australian Open. That’s where I want to perform at my best. So again, it’s never nice to lose a match, of course, but it’s not really going to stay with me much.”
Djokovic powered through a 3cm tear in his hamstring on the way to winning his 10th Australian Open title last year. In 2021, he tore his abdominal muscle in the third round in Melbourne but still went on to win the slam.
Those experiences have left the 24-time Grand Slam winner confident that his wrist injury won’t curdle his hopes of defending his title.
“The process is not strange to me. It’s not unusual,” Djokovic said.
“I’ve been in this kind of situation so many times and I know what I need to do along with my team to get myself ready. In two of the last three years I’ve been injured just before Australian Open, and managed to win both.
“I hope that I will not be injured this time around.
“That’s what we’re going to work on, to get my body in the right shape, optimal state, so that I can perform at the high level throughout, hopefully, the entire Australian Open.”
Djokovic says he will now focus on recovery and training in the lead-up to the tournament, which begins on January 14.
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