Novak Djokovic said his ninth Australian Open title came after one of the toughest tournaments of his career, with a muscle-tear injury that is still “not healed” and attacks from the media.
Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates beating Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in the Australian Open men’s singles in Melbourne yesterday
Despite the challenges, the World No. 1 snuffed out the threat from in-form Russian Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 to reinforce his status as the king of Melbourne Park and collect his 18th Grand Slam crown. But there were numerous hurdles to jump, not least having to quarantine for 14 days and the negative reaction to a letter he wrote to Tennis Australia pre-tournament which was interpreted as a “petulant and selfish” list of demands.
Tough quarantine“Emotionally this was one of the hardest tournaments I’ve ever had, to be honest,” the Serbian top seed told Australia’s Channel Nine on Sunday. “We had quarantine and a lot of things happening in the media, then the letter that I wrote as ideas and recommendations that I got for players was misinterpreted as a list of demands. Then the next thing I was persona non grata here in this country. So it was tough dealing with all of this and then getting injured in the third round,” he added of the abdominal tear that almost forced him to pull out. “It was a rollercoaster ride. I think that makes it even sweeter for me and a lot of positives from this tournament without a doubt.”
Djokovic with his nine Australian Open winners trophies. Pics/AFP
His coach Goran Ivanisevic said the criticism Djokovic had to deal with were unfair. “Actually, he needed this victory so badly. There is somebody upstairs, who see all this unfairness, with a lot of media and people they doing to him. He tried to help the players. It’s his fault, like everybody else attacking him. Nobody else to attack, so let’s attack Novak,” said Ivanisevic.
Djokovic sustained his injury during his third-round clash against Taylor Fritz. After refusing to reveal the nature of the injury during the tournament, he said on Sunday it was an abdominal muscle tear. “I went for a MRI, it showed a tear. Some people question whether there was a tear. For me, it was a huge obstacle. I guess we’re all different. Maybe I have a great ability to heal. I just managed somehow with pills and painkillers and stuff.”
Abdominal tearDjokovic said he spent 10 out of 14 waking hours on the physio’s table at one stage for treatment. “It’s not healed. I’m going for another MRI tomorrow before I travel. I’ll take some time off,” said Djokovic, whose win raised his stranglehold on the No. 1 ranking, marking his 311th week on top from Monday, surpassing Roger Federer’s record of 310.
`15.45 crDjokovic’s prize purse ($2.13 million) at this Australian Open was the lowest since 2014. Last year the champion earned $3.12 million. Organisers said the total prize purse was spread to help more players earn money through this tough pandemic year.
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