Novak Djokovic won a ninth Australian Open title a year ago, battling seven opponents and an abdominal injury to extend his reign in Melbourne. Novak won the 18th Major title at Melbourne Park, taking two from Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal and tying them for the rest of the season.
Djokovic beat Daniil Medvedev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in the title clash in an hour and 53 minutes, controlling the score in sets two and three to put the youngster behind and lift the trophy. Novak’s chances of winning another Major crown at his favorite dwindled after an abdominal injury against Taylor Fritz in the third round.
Winning the first two sets, Novak slipped on the Melbourne backboard paint early in the third and injured his stomach muscle. The Serb was in a lot of pain and lost sets three and four before rallying to the decider to break away and stay in contention.
Unsure if he would play the next game against Milos Raonic because he couldn’t train, Novak raised questions about his campaign and drew media attention. Not at his best, Djokovic beat Raonic in four sets to claim another win, playing at a high level in sets three and four and garnering plenty of commentary about the nature of his injury.
Unhappy with the treatment, Novak refused to talk about his injury from then on, doing his best to recover and beating Alexander Zverev, Aslan Karatsev and Daniil Medvedev to extend his reign in Melbourne. The Serb stayed away from the pitch for almost two months, skipping Indian Wells and Miami and returning to action in Monte Carlo in April.
“It’s bigger than it was when I had my first MRI after the third round.
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Novak Djokovic’s wartime experience in Serbia as a 12-year-old changed his life in many ways. “It’s one of the most traumatic experiences and images I had as a child that stuck with me to this day,” Djokovic said.
“It was us crying because of the bombs and because mum wasn’t reacting, and my dad was there like, ‘What’s going on?’ Luckily, my dad manages to help my mum get back to normal as much as she can and we get our things quickly, take the necessities and go out,” said the Serb.
“My dad was carrying my brothers and my mom was running around with stuff and I slipped and fell. As I turned around, I looked over the building, and I see these stealth planes flying around and dropping things, and the ground shakes,” he said.