Novak Djokovic - US Open 2023

Novak Djokovic thinks he will ‘be okay’ for Australian Open after injury scare

Novak Djokovic has lost his first match in Australia since 2018, with Alex de Minaur bringing an end to the hampered Serb’s 43-match winning streak down under. 

Djokovic was beaten by De Minaur, 4-6 4-6, in his first defeat in the country since his fourth round loss at the 2018 Australian Open to Hyeon Chung.

This was followed up by Ajla Tomljanovic convincingly beating Natalija Stevanovic, confirming that Australia would advance to the semi-finals of the United Cup.

However, most of the post-match conversation has surrounded Djokovic’s potential wrist injury, with the world No.1 calling the trainer for a second consecutive match.

Although Djokovic admitted it impacted his performance, he played down talk of him being unable to defend his Australian Open title, “I think I’ll be okay, to be honest. But, you know, it did have quite an impact, you know, particularly in the forehand and serve.”

The 36-year-old continued, “But again, I don’t want to be spending too much time talking about it and taking away credit for the victory from De Minaur. I mean, he was just very solid, as he always is, and congrats to him [and] to the Australian team. And, you know, it is what it is for us. I guess we move on and for me with my thoughts in Melbourne.

“I knew that I’m probably not going to be at my 100% physically, emotionally, mentally, game-wise, in the opening week of the season. Neither did I expect that. Neither did I want that, to be honest. It’s all part of the build-up for the Australian Open, you know, so that’s where I want to perform at my best. And so again, you know, it’s never nice to lose a match, of course, but, you know, it’s not really going to stay with me much.”

It is the first time that De Minaur has beaten Djokovic, with the world No.12 winning 97% of his first serve points and did not face a single break point throughout the match.

And Djokovic was very complimentary about his Australian opponent, “He was very solid from the beginning. He just played a great match [and] deserved to win.

“Yeah, I was not on my level, but, you know, it was just one of these days where you didn’t feel your best on the court, [and] your opponent played very well. That’s all I can say. I have, I think, enough time to get myself in the right shape for the Australian Open and that’s what matters the most at this point.”

Djokovic will now travel from Perth to Melbourne, as he looks to win a record 11th Australian Open title, with the first major of the year beginning on Sunday 14th January.

Inside the baseline…

It is rare to see Novak Djokovic lose at all, let alone in Australia, so it is understandable why fans of the Serb are concerned about his wrist. However, if anyone knows how to manage his body it would be Djokovic and he will have the best team around him to be able to monitor his progress. A lot of credit also has to go to De Minaur, because many players would still have lost to a hampered Djokovic and the Aussie managed to hold his nerve throughout.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.