Djokovic Shows Heart, Toughness In Leading Serbia To Davis Cup Victory
by Sean Randall | April 8th, 2013, 1:10 pm

I’ve been overly critical of Novak Djokovic’s toughness in the past, so it’s only fair to give recognition when he goes the other way and shows his guts. Sunday in Boise he did just that.

As many of you have seen, Djokovic grimly rolled his right ankle early in his Davis Cup match against Sam Querrey yesterday in Boise. Watching live at first I didn’t notice the injury because Novak kept playing, but on replay it sure didn’t look good for the Serb and his team who needed Novak’s clinching point, otherwise the tie would rest in the super-shaky hands of Viktor Troicki.

Djokovic got the ankle taped up and resumed playing, but he never really looked comfortable thereafter, and there were moments early on when I felt like he was going to stop – had he lost that first set who knows and he’s retired from Davis Cup matches before. But he didn’t.

By the end of the match, with Querrey now battling a pectoral injury, a drug-upped Djokovic ran away with the match. Here it was interesting to contrast: Querrey done in by a chest muscle injury that slowed his serve while Djokovic dealt with a bad ankle that had to hurt with every step, yet Novak dominated?

That’s heart. That’s a will to win. Querrey doesn’t have it. Djokovic does.

Novak admitted afterward that had it not been Davis Cup he might have withdrawn. And Djokovic doesn’t have to play Davis Cup, he’s won it before. His goal for this year is crystal clear: it’s the French Open. But by carrying on with the match he put those tournament hopes in peril. Credit to him, though, he risked it for his team and for his country when he could have easily and understandably opted out.

Obviously we don’t know the full extent of the injury. The fact he was able to play 3.5 sets of tennis on a gimpy ankle was an encouraging sign. Regardless of the MRI outcome he showed a lot yesterday. Honestly, I’m not so sure how many other top players would have continued in that situation. But with so much on the line, he did.

It won’t be his career defining moment and in 10 years we’ll probably all forget it even happened, but we shouldn’t. Well done, Novak. You got some guts there.

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21 Comments for Djokovic Shows Heart, Toughness In Leading Serbia To Davis Cup Victory

Brando Says:

Agree with you Sean: the FACT that he continued more than suggests we could be talking over a whole load of nothing. He should be fine. At least I hope so!

Miro007 Says:

Thinking he will be fine is wishful thinking. He will be foolish to not skip MC at minimum to rest. If he does not he will risk chronic ligament damage.

Sean Randall Says:

Brando, I’ve sprained my ankles more times than I care to remember. Several of those happened during tennis and in each case I wasn’t able to finish the match (I didn’t have the services of a trainer!).

In my worst ankle roll, I had some serious swelling and very nasty bruising, but I was back on the court and 100% within two weeks.

That said, Kim Clijsters rolled hers a few times. Two years ago she hurt it at a wedding but was able to return for the French, though I don’t think she was 100% and that sprain was very severe. (

Djokovic has access to the very best medical attention and he’s in world class shape so my best guess is he’ll be okay for Madrid a month from now, if not much sooner. I hope.

Brando Says:


I agree with you.

He’ll be a fool to play Monte Carlo now considering this issue.

It’s not worth it, so I completely expect him to withdraw as a precautionary measure.

IF he play’s however, expect some calls for him to play Superman post retirement!

Brando Says:

@Sean Randall:

I completely agree with your thoughts, especially considering you have your own experience of such issue.

I think you are right:

1- Novak is a world class athlete

2- He has available to him the best possible medical treatment/ care

3- He continued to play 2-3 hours post the scare

All of which leads me to believe that he MAY skip MC as a precaution- and even then he has stated he shall do his best to play- and will be 100% by Madrid.

Like you said originally in your write up: it shall soon be forgotten and folks shall move on!

Ben Pronin Says:

If Djokovic would somehow beat Nadal in Monte Carlo, I think we can all say it’d be worth it (for him, at least). So, that’s not really fair to say.

Wog boy Says:

I didn’t know Sean Randall is Nole fanatic, good on him.

jane Says:

Thanks, Sean, for the write-up. I know they all play through injuries; it doesn’t make them superhuman or anything, but I do think it shows fight. Of course they ALL continue to play on for hours after the injury and some even play through whole tournaments and seasons. Personally I don’t think it necessarily means everything is hunky dory, but I think it just means they feel they can play even if they are not 100%. Sometimes, ironically, the way Nole plays when he has an injury is actually very effective: he is forced to be accurate and go for winners instead of relying on movement and defence (like in the 2011 USO final or in the final 2 sets versus Sam). I am not sure if others who play tennis have had a similar experience but it’s definitely interesting how athletes adapt. Hopefully you’re right and the ankle will be good to go sooner than later.

Nole has missed Monte Carlo only once since as far back as I can remember, and that was solely due to the winning streak in 2011. If he can play there, he will always play Monte Carlo because he considers it his “home-away-from-home” tournament given that he lives there when he’s not travelling. So I suspect that if the ankle is okay, we’ll see him there. As I mentioned before, I’d rather he take some time to rest after the DC tie, and the injury as well, regardless of whether or not it’s super serious. He’s played a full schedule so far this season. A little break couldn’t hurt and MC isn’t mandatory anyhow.

Miro007 Says:

The fact that he sprained his ankle from that elevation, the pain must of been brutal. The fact that he took anti inflammatories to remove the pain was a huge mistake. His playing on that foot has made the situation far worse. He will not play until Madrid, if he does he risks having a injury for life that will hurt his confidence in his movement for his entire career. I respect Novak and his heart, but he risks too much in MC.

rafaeli Says:

Of course playing on has nothing to do with racking up his DC titles.

Nole is fine, he will turn up in MC.

Wog boy Says:

It is official:

” … no structural damage to the joint capsule and ligaments. A joint structures strain requires therapy and strict rest in the following days.
Depending on the recovery, a decision will be made on Nole’s participation at the upcoming tournament in Monte Carlo.”

alison Says:

Wogboy thats good news,i still think he should pull out of MC though just as a precautionary measure.

Giles Says:

He’s a miracle man. Don’t worry he will be fit and raring to go come MC!

Wog boy Says:


That was my opinion before injury scare, let Rafa,Andy, Delpo and others play MC, as mat4 said … Nole might be better off to find Roger and try to work out how to beat New Rafa;)

alison Says:

Wogboy its still early days IMO to be talking about a new Rafa,i only hope for the best for Rafa,Nole and all their rivals,an injury free year is my only hope for everyone :-)))…

Brando Says:

And there we go: as predicted superman is fine, and shall be ready for MC. All the hysteria, the breaking down on Serbian TV ( coincidence ?) calls of bravery was alot of noise over nothing. He played on since he was physically able to do so. And he’ll do so at MC since he’ll be perfectly fine to do so.

Humble Rafa Says:

no structural damage to the joint capsule and ligaments.

In contrast, my knee ligaments are broken, and getting worse. If I can play, Egg Lover can play. Shut up, and play.

jane Says:

Thanks, Wog Boy, for the update. One tweet I read said it was an ankle sprain so no play for 10-30 days. Playing MC seems unlikely in that case, but your official report sounds like it’s possible. I hope he takes the rest he needs. I wouldn’t want him to force it. Better to ease onto clay. At least that surface is very conducive to sliding and so in that sense probably would be easier on the ankle? Not sure.

Steve 27 Says:

If he plays in Montecarlo is fine, otherwise would be very dumb risk an injury that cause more problems in near future.

Giles Says:

@Brando. As one poster said “Balls of Steel”!!

skeezer Says:

After looking at the vid it was hard to tell, as the shoe rolled but how much did the ankle? Anyways, have had a sprained ankle also. Was on crutches for 2 weeks, no hard playing for 6. Doc says a sprain sometimes can be just as bad as a break. Mine was bad. Glad The xrays showed no tears. The way Nole runs was always afraid he roll a ankle one day. Hope this was it and no more.

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