Tennis

‘Novak Djokovic’s injury makes no sense,’ states his rival

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Novak Djokovic claimed his tenth Australian Open title last Sunday, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final. Novak came to Melbourne with a hamstring injury experienced in Adelaide, and his Australian Open campaign had two stages. Enzo Couacaud took a set away from Novak in the second round before a nine-time champion shifted into a higher gear. Couacaud is not convinced about everything surrounding Djokovic’s injury, especially after seeing him constantly stretching. The Serb did not play at his best in the opening three rounds, struggling with his left leg and requiring medical timeouts. He overcame two tough challenges and never looked back in the rest of the tournament, scoring three dominant triumphs and prevailing over Tsitsipas to lift the trophy. Djokovic lost the only set during the fortnight against a qualifier Enzo Couacaud in the second round. Novak beat Enzo 6-1, 6-7, 6-2, 6-0 after treatment in the second set’s closing stages.

He lost it in the tie break before taking charge and sailing toward the finish line in sets three and four. Enzo experienced an ankle injury in the encounter’s opening stage, struggling but finding enough energy to challenge a great rival in set number two. The Serb faced only one break point in the entire clash and kept the pressure on the other side. Djokovic was too strong in the opener, delivering one good hold after another and breaking the opponent at 2-1. Novak grabbed another break in the sixth game and wrapped up the opener on his serve a few minutes later. The Frenchman felt better in the second set and produced a couple of comfortable holds to stay in touch at 3-3. Novak missed a break chance in game seven and started to feel his left leg in the upcoming games. He required treatment and wasted two more break chances in game 11.

Enzo Couacaud questioned Novak Djokovic’s injury in Melbourne.

Enzo survived all the obstacles and climbed back from 3-0 down in the tie break to make it more interesting. Novak hit a double fault at 5-5 and sent a backhand long on the rival’s set point to experience a setback. Djokovic made a fresh start in the third set, serving well and delivering breaks in games two and eight for 6-2. Novak broke in the fourth set’s second game to build the advantage and fended off the only break chance in the next one to forge a 3-0 lead. Enzo sprayed a backhand error in the fourth game to lose serve again and push world no. 5 closer to the finish line. The Serb hit two double faults in game five but held after deuce for 5-0. Novak placed a drop shot winner in the sixth game for two match points and cracked a backhand down the line winner on the first to seal the deal and emerge at the top.

“Novak claimed he played with a severe injury. When athletes are injured in combat sports, they often can not continue. When Rafael Nadal is injured, he can not run. Kylian Mbappe, for example, is out for two weeks. And those are the greatest athletes, not those who do not have access to the best care. Therefore, it’s difficult to believe that only one man can continue with an injury. Rafa experienced an injury at Wimbledon and could not serve. On the other hand, Novak competed for 15 days and claimed a Major title. Those things do not make sense. When you are injured, you usually do not stretch. However, Novak did that all the time. They have a new method of dealing with injuries in Serbia, or it’s strange. I’m not judging the authenticity of his claims, but it’s hard to believe it happened the way he described it,” Enzo Couacaud said. 

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