World No.1 Novak Djokovic isn’t fretting about his wrist injury, saying he has time to get himself in top shape for his Australian Open defence.
Djokovic suffered a shock 6-4 6-4 loss to Australian Alex de Minaur at the United Cup in Perth on Wednesday night, ending Serbia’s bid to reach the semi-finals.
The right wrist injury Djokovic carried into the match clearly affected him, with the 36-year-old committing a whopping 31 unforced errors and failing to create even a single break-point opportunity.
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He said the injury particularly affected his forehand and serve.
Sidelined Aussie star Nick Kyrgios weighed in on the injury, blaming the ATP for changing the balls every week.
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“Change of balls every week finally got to Novak’s wrist, the ATP really need to do something about this problem. Players suffer all the time,” he tweeted.
“Also, for the people who think balls aren’t a big enough factor to result in an athlete being hurt are potato’s. The load through a player’s elbow, wrist over this vigorous season is enormous.”
It comes after veteran Gastao Elias slammed the ATP last year for the “inhumane” decisions.
Djokovic receives treatment on his injured wrist during his loss to de Minaur in Perth. Credit: AAP
Djokovic remains confident the wrist injury won’t derail his bid to win an unprecedented 11th Australian Open crown.
“I have enough time to get myself in the right shape for the Australian Open, and that’s what matters the most at this point,” Djokovic said.
“I think I’ll be OK, to be honest.
“I knew that I probably wasn’t going to be at my 100 per cent physically, emotionally, mentally, game-wise in the opening week of a season.
“Neither did I expect that. Neither did I want that, to be honest.
“It’s all a part of the build-up for the Australian Open. That’s where I want to perform at my best.
“So again, it’s never nice to lose a match, of course, but it’s not really going to stay with me much.”
Djokovic powered through a 3cm tear in his hamstring on the way to winning a 10th Australian Open last year.
In 2021, he tore his abdominal muscle in the third round in Melbourne but still went on to win the slam.
Those experiences have left the 24-time grand slam winner confident that his wrist injury won’t cruel his hopes of defending his title.
“The process is not strange to me. It’s not unusual,” Djokovic said.
“I’ve been in this kind of situation so many times and I know what I need to do along with my team to get myself ready.
“In two of the last three years I’ve been injured just before Australian Open, and managed to win both.
“I hope that I will not be injured this time around.
“That’s what we’re going to work on, to get my body in the right shape, optimal state, so that I can perform at the high level throughout, hopefully, the entire Australian Open.”
Djokovic says he will now focus on recovery and training in the lead-up to the Australian Open, which begins on January 14.
– With 7NEWS.com.au