Novak Djokovic reveals latest on wrist injury ahead of Australian Open


Novak Djokovic is optimistic his wrist problems are behind him as he prepares to start his bid for an 11th Australian Open title.

The world No 1 was hampered by a right wrist issue during an uncharacteristic loss to Alex De Minaur playing for Serbia at the United Cup earlier this month.

But he has been practising this week at Melbourne Park, and said ahead of a first-round clash with Croatian teenager Dino Prizmic on Sunday: “My wrist is good.

“I had time from the last match against De Minaur in the United Cup to my first match here to recover. I’ve been training well. Practice sessions pain-free so far. It’s all looking good. Let’s see how it goes.”

Djokovic is no stranger to injuries in Melbourne, with an abdominal problem almost derailing him in 2021, while he played through last year’s tournament with a hamstring issue.

He still won the title on both occasions, and he said of the wrist: “It’s not as bad as some other injuries I had here – 2021 and last year I had worse injuries that I had to deal with.

“I can’t predict whether it’s going to come back. Once I start playing more matches, stress levels go higher. I don’t know. We have to find out.”

Djokovic is practising well and appears to have shaken off a wrist injury ahead of the Australian Open

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At 36, Djokovic remains as dominant as ever, falling only one match short of a calendar grand slam in 2023.

This year once again offers the chance for a Golden Slam, with a first Olympic gold medal in Paris an obvious target, while another victory in Melbourne would make him the first player ever to win 25 slam singles titles.

“It’s no secret that I verbalise my goals and I say clearly that I want to win every slam that I play in,” said the Serbian.

“It’s no different this year. I’m just hoping I can start the season in a way that I have been starting my seasons, most of my seasons, throughout my career: with a win here in Australia, in Melbourne.

“My favourite place, no doubt. The court where I’ve done great things and achieved my greatest grand slam results.

“I hope that I’m going to be able to, if not play at the level that I did last year, then be very close to that, because that was one of the best tennis levels that I’ve ever played, here in Australia last year.

“The season is so long. Grand slams, Olympics, those are the big goals. I have to see how it goes here and think about everything else when it comes around the corner.”

Djokovic continues to hold back the next generation single-handed, with only Carlos Alcaraz managing to get the better of him at the slams last year in a brilliant Wimbledon final.

Carlos Alcaraz appears to be Djokovic’s main threat in Melbourne

(Getty Images)

The Spaniard, who missed last year’s Australian Open with a leg injury, leads Djokovic’s likely challengers along with fellow young gun Jannik Sinner.

Alcaraz is already eyeing a potential final battle against Djokovic, saying: “It’s an extra motivation for me. I’m an ambitious guy. Obviously it’s a good test, playing against him in the places or in the tournament that he’s almost unbeaten.

“I’m looking for reaching the final and hopefully playing a final against him. It would be great, obviously.”

Alcaraz will have to do it, though, without his long-time coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, who is back home in Spain recuperating from knee surgery.

Alcaraz, who plays veteran Richard Gasquet in round one, is being guided here by Ferrero’s former coach Samuel Lopez, and he said: “It’s tough not being with him. Obviously he travels to almost 100 per cent of the tournaments. It’s going to be difficult to approach a big tournament without him.

“I have Sam with me that is a great coach as well. I trust him. I believe in him. Juan Carlos as well. I think I can learn a lot from him.”



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