Novak Djokovic paused to have an injury treated during an Adelaide International victory over Daniil Medvedev on Saturday night, but a series of events that followed cast doubt over whether the Serbian superstar was hurt or acting.
As Djokovic pieced together a 6-3, 6-4 win to set up an Adelaide International final against the USA’s Sebastian Korda, set to be played on Sunday night, he departed the court for a brief medical, citing an injury to his left hamstring.
The 21-time grand slam champion also appeared hampered by his hamstring over the remainder of the match, clutching at the tendon and testing his leg’s range of motion on a series of occasions.
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But Medvedev clearly thought Djokovic was feigning the injury, ribbing his rival late in the second set by grabbing his left hamstring and hopping around.
“You know what I think?” said former Australian tennis star John Fitzgerald on the Nine broadcast.
“I think Medvedev is insinuating that there’s nothing wrong with Novak … a wry smile, feeling his own hamstring up high.
“If Novak picks up on that, he won’t appreciate it, by the way.
“I’m just getting a bit of amusement here from Daniil,” Fitzgerald added.
“He’s hip-hopping and jumping on his left hamstring every time he wins a point here now.”
The mystery deepened when Djokovic batted away fears in his on-court interview.
“Thankfully it was nothing too serious,” the 35-year-old said.
“If it was I wouldn’t be able to continue. So, I just tried with some medical timeout, some inflammatories and kind of settled in … trying to keep the momentum going and don’t allow him to break my serve … the longer the match went the more my hamstring was warmer, I guess, and bothering me less.
“So, hopefully tomorrow (for the final) it will be all fine.”
Incredible Novak save precedes injury scare
Djokovic has a dubious injury history, having been accused of pretending in prior tournaments.
The USA’s Taylor Fritz claimed Djokovic bluffed an abdominal tear during a third-round Australian Open fixture in 2021.
“If he was really, really injured, he wouldn’t have kept playing,” Fritz said following the match.
“He looked like he was struggling in the third and fourth (sets). He didn’t look like he was struggling in the fifth.
“Maybe he fought through it.
“I’m happy for him; he had such a good recovery.”
Djokovic’s injury scare on Saturday night followed the withdrawal of world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, who’d pulled out earlier in the day due to a hamstring issue.
Korda advanced to Sunday night’s Adelaide International final because his opponent, Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, retired injured during their semi-final.
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