Novak Djokovic’s body is starting to break down. Playing in a critical fourth rubber today against Argentina, Djokovic was forced to retire down a set and a break to Juan Martin Del Potro.
On a game point that would give Del Potro a 3-0 lead in the second set, Djokovic fell in pain after hitting a forehand. A teary-looking Serb retired minutes later as trainers applied ice to a back injury Djokovic said he first felt at the start of the US Open.
“The injury I carried since the US Open actually,” Djokovic said. “And I felt it at the start of the tournament and then elevated throughout the tournament, match-to-match. I felt quite sharp pain in the finals, luckily for me I managed to hold on and survive that fourth set and win the tournament.
“I was aware of my condition and I came here quite late and I wasn’t able to get ready. Definitely wasn’t physically ready.”
“I had the support of my team, I had the support of my national captain and they all felt that I could go out on the court with maybe 50-60% and play better than Viktor at this moment,” he said. “But it wasn’t the case.”
“I feel very disappointed to end the tie in this way, I tried although I was only 60 percent fit and I got into the match knowing there was a risk of aggravating the injury which I first felt at the U.S. Open,” Djokovic said.
Credit to Del Potro and Argentina, but it was a big blow to Serbia not having a 100% Djokovic.
“I am not saying I would have won if I had been 100 percent fit because Del Potro played at a very high level today and never in my professional career did I struggle with my return of serve as I did today,” Djokovic said. “The important thing now is to determine the extent of my injury and how long it will take me to recover, I was able to battle through the pain in the U.S. Open final but not today.”
So Novak had the injury during the US Open, but still managed to beat Nadal in that incredible final. Crazy. I know Djokovic really wants to do well for his country but after the season he’s had he really needs to take some time off and heal. With the way the tennis calender is set up, there’s little time to nurse injuries and get right, and before you know it’s the Australian Open.
And is 60% Djokovic really better than 100% Troicki?
As for the Davis Cup, Serbia’s setback still gives us a decent finale as Spain will host Argentina in December.
Unlike Djokovic, Nadal showed no signs of fatigue and in fact maybe displayed some anger as he ripped both Richard Gasquet and today JW Tsonga to put Spain back in the final, likely on clay but maybe grass??
Off the court, feeding off his US Open rant, Rafa has remained vocal on his dissatisfaction on the way pro tennis does business. With Djokovic’s injury and the rigorous schedules, I’m sure we’ll be hearing much more on this subject this fall.
And in Australia, Stan Wawrinka and Switzerland will have a full 24 hours to sleep on one service game. That’s because the deciding 5th rubber between Wawrinka and Hewitt was stopped because of darkness with Stan serving 5-3 in the fifth set. What a time to stop.
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