Novak Djokovic has given a further update on the injury which is threatening his Australian Open challenge, revealing that continuing to play could lead to an extended break from the sport.
Djokovic was coasting through the Grand Slam until the third set of of his third-round match against Taylor Fritz where he slipped and injured his side.
From being two sets up, the world number one then visibly struggled on court, wincing with pain and lost the next two sets before regaining some form to win a fifth set decider.
After the match, the Serbian was clearly relieved to have won the game and cited it as one of his greatest memories in the sport.
But doubt was cast about his next match, with Djokovic admitting he thought he had a muscle tear and that he wasn’t sure if he could return to court for his fourth-round match with Milos Raonic.
When news broke a few hours before the game that Djokovic would play, concern grew about the extent of the injury and despite not playing at 100%, he managed to win the tie in four sets and advance to the quarter-finals.
After the match, however, Djokovic confirmed that the injury is serious, and although he doesn’t want to reveal too much, he is taking a gamble by playing through it.
“The medical team told me that it is a gamble while I’m on the court” said Djokovic.
“It could cause much more damage, but it could do in a good direction.
“I won’t know until I stop taking pain killers, they kind of hide what is really happening. I will take the time off afterwards.
“I talked a lot with medical teams, mine and one of Australian Open.
“They share an opinion that there is a slim chance for me to miss an extended period of time. They don’t think it will jeopardize my season, maybe some tournaments afterwards.
When pushed on the exact nature of the injury, Djokovic said he’d had a scan and knew what the problem was, but asked for understanding from the press.
“I understand that you want to know, but I really don’t want to get into it.
“Yes, I did an MRI, I did everything, I know what it is, but I don’t want to talk about it now.
“I’m still in the tournament. I hope you guys understand that. I don’t want to speculate too much about it. It’s not ideal for me.
“I definitely wouldn’t be playing if this wasn’t a Slam. I want to do everything possible to play.
“I am an aggressive mover and it’s best of 5, those things doesn’t help, but I have to deal with the pain mentally. I have 40 hours, which is great about Slams.”
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