Novak Djokovic: ‘You might not have too many left in the tank’


Novak Djokovic suffered more than expected in his match against Enzo Couacaud at the 2023 Australian Open. Complicated by a left hamstring injury, the Serb did not have an easy time against the Frenchman at Rod Laver Arena. After a one-sided first set, the transalpine took advantage of the fact that he had nothing to lose to play a sensational second set and force Nole into extra time. Enzo served 80 per cent of first serves in the second set, forcing Djokovic to fight back and punishing him with some good acceleration. After the effort he put in in the second set, Couacaud’s physiological level dropped and Novak had it easy in the following two sets. The 21-time Slams champion is in the hunt for his tenth seal at Melbourne Park, which would allow him to snag his archrival Rafael Nadal in 22 Slams. We’ll see if the Serbian is able to overcome this physical problem and play all his cards in the second week. In the ‘L’Equipe’ microphones, Couacaud commented on his performance against Djokovic. “I had a lot of fun the other day, it was great to play Novak Djokovic in one of the most important stadiums in the world,” Couacaud began. “While Novak was receiving treatment, I went to talk to my trainer and he gave me some very useful advice. At one point, we looked at each other and both laughed, because we knew it had been a memorable experience. I hope to live more similar days in the future”, added Enzo. In the press conference, Nole praised his rival: “Enzo played very well in the second set and deserved to win it. The state of my leg is not optimal, but I don’t want to complain. The good thing is that in the Slams there is a rest day between matches, so you have some time to recover. I’m pretty worried, I can’t deny it. At the same time, I have to accept this situation and try to do my best.”

Nole on navigating the final stages of his career

Novak Djokovic is not taking anything for granted after beating Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday. “Turning point was the very first game, every point mattered. Physically, I was going up and down, I admire and respect Grigor, one of most talented players. He was locked in up to the very last shot. Incredible battle. Every season counts, I guess, now. When you come to last stage, last quarter of your career, you start appreciating and to value every single tournament even more, that you might not have too many left in the tank.”

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