‘I’m sorry’ – Novak Djokovic apologises to fans after Australian Open injury scare
Novak Djokovic apologised to fans for only playing half of his exhibition match against Jannik Sinner, but added he’s pleased he did.
The world number one initially pulled out of the match just 15 minutes before it was due to start because of ‘layered blisters’ on his hand, with compatriot Filip Krajinovic taking his place.
However, he emerged to play the second set, wining it 6-3, before saying the chance to play in front of a big crowd again was too much to turn down.
“I’m sorry that I didn’t step on the court from the beginning. I had to do some treatment with my physio and I wasn’t feeling my best the last couple of days,” Djokovic explained on-court after the match.
“I didn’t know how I was going to react, but I wanted to play, I wanted to get out here.
“Thank you so much for making our day and making our year. We didn’t play in front of this big a crowd in 12 months so this is something very special.
Cameras did show a raw blister on the palm of Djokovic’s racket hand, but when asked how it affected his tennis he said: “It’s not easy, but it’s part of what we do.
“We’re professional athletes, we learn over the years to play with the pain. It’s just a question of whether the pain is bearable or not.
“So obviously, coming off a hard training block and having the ATP Cup and Australian Open around the corner, you don’t want to risk it too much.
“But the emotion was so strong in me to come out on the court today, seeing almost full stands, I just had to play. That’s it, I had to play.”
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