Novak Djokovic has hinted he may not be able to continue playing at the Australian Open after picking up a muscle tear and narrowly winning his third round tie.
Djokovic was comfortably two sets up when he slipped on court injuring his hip in his match against American Taylor Fritz.
Visibly struggling on the sidelines, Djokovic received treatment in a medical time out, but looked unable to move or walk without wincing in pain and subsequently lost the next two sets.
During the fourth set, the match was temporarily stopped until all spectators were escorted out of the Rod Laver Arena due to a five day lockdown in place from midnight due to new coronavirus cases.
The break allowed Djokovic to receive additional treatment and he looked much better for it on his return to court.
At the end of the match, the world number one gave an emotional outburst on court, clearly relieved he had battled through the pain.
In his post match interview, when asked about his chances of facing Milos Raonic in round four, Djokovic told Eurosport: “Right now I know it’s a tear of the muscle.
“I don’t think I’ll manage to recover from that in less than two days. I don’t know if I’m going to step out on the court or not. I am just very proud of this achievement.
“Obviously mentally and emotionally, I feel great. It’s a huge relief to pull this one through in these kinds of conditions I found myself in.
“It was one of a kind type of match, for me, that’s what I said on the court, and I really mean it.
“It’s one of the best moments I’ve had in my career under these kinds of circumstances.
“Obviously I don’t want to talk about the intensity, or the level of injury, or the pain, it’s not going to matter much because people don’t understand what you go through on the court.
“The way it felt at the beginning of the third set, when I got my first medical timeout, I was debating really strongly in my head to retire the match after two games.
“Because I just couldn’t move, I couldn’t rotate, I couldn’t return, the only thing I could do is serve, and that’s what got me out of the trouble .
“I knew my only chance is if I serve well and put pressure on his service games, which happened.
“And whatever is happening here [the injury] got better in the fifth, and I could start to play, and return a few serves.”
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