Novak Djokovic has opened up on his “emotionally” draining Australian Open experience after winning his ninth Grand Slam in Melbourne. There were strong question marks on whether the Australian Open would go ahead as planned due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Tennis Australia were keen for the tournament to take place though with regiment plans in place for players and members of their teams to undergo strict quarantine conditions.
Djokovic hit headlines even before the tournament started due to a letter he wrote to Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley where he aired some concerns and made a list of “potential improvements” to conditions for the players in quarantine.
The letter drew some heavy criticism though with Djokovic coming under fire and the world No 1 admitted after his win over Medvedev that he felt like public enemy No 1 in the aftermath.
“Emotionally it was one of the hardest tournaments that I’ve ever had with the quarantine and a lot of things happening in the media,” he said on Australia’s Wide World of Sports.
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“The letter that I wrote was ideas and recommendations I got from players and it was misinterpreted as my request and lists of demands.
“The next thing you know I’m the persona non grata in this country so it was tough dealing with all of this and then getting injured in the third round against Taylor.
“It was a rollercoaster ride but I think it makes it even sweeter for me and I’ll take a lot of positives from this tournament without a doubt.”
Djokovic’s chances of winning his 18th Grand Slam took a huge hit in the third round when he suffered an abdominal injury.
Djokovic was able to continue against Taylor Fritz, but he only just survived a possible upset and in the two rounds after that he still didn’t look 100 per cent fit.
The Serbian didn’t want to speak too much about his injury during the week to focus more on the tournament and getting through to Sunday’s final.
But he’s now opened up on the injury issue, stating that he suffered a muscle tear which may leave him needing to take an extended break.
“I wanted to keep things quiet and clear for me in terms of talking about the injury or any other stuff,” Djokovic said.
“It’s a muscle tear. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced that kind of a snap that I had in the third round.
“I went to an MRI and it showed a tear. People questioned that. I understand they questioned my injury, they questioned whether there was a tear. There is a tear.
“I can leave the doctors and physios to confirm that but for me it was a huge obstacle and challenge.”
He added: “It’s not healed up. I’m going to go do another MRI tomorrow before I travel back but I’m definitely going to take some time off.
“I don’t know how long it’s going to take but my whole energy and focus was here in Australia.
“If there was any tournament that I wanted to risk even more damage or try my very hardest to battle, it’s here in a Grand Slam.
“I cannot be happier to be next to this trophy and we’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
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