Novak Djokovic suffered a scare in more ways than one on a Thursday night at the Australian Open. However, the nine-time champion persevered to reach the third round at Melbourne Park. Despite having problems with his left leg, which was bandaged, the Serb defeated Frenchman Enzo Couacaud 6-1, 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-0.
Djokovic appeared to struggle after losing the second set tiebreaker, but immediately focused to charge through the remainder of the match after three hours and four minutes. “A lot happened in tonight’s match,” Djokovic said.
“He deserves credit for the fight. He played some great tennis, especially in the second set. He deservedly pushed the match to four sets. We both had some medical timeouts and struggled a bit, but I managed to respond well in third and fourth .
I love playing late night sessions. Let’s keep it up.” The Serb is chasing a record-tying 22nd Grand Slam trophy this fortnight and will claim No.1 in Pepperstone’s ATP Rankings if he wins the title. However, the 35-year- old will keep his focus squarely in front of him, with former World No.
3 Grigor Dimitrov looming large in the third round. There were moments in the match against Couacaud when advancing did not seem a sure thing. As the second set progressed, Djokovic was further hammered by his left hamstring injury.
Playing on strong straps, the fourth seed wonced after reaching for a ball at 4-4, calling a medical timeout as he trailed 4-5. His movement was clearly compromised and Couacaud made the most of it, swinging free and hugging the crowd at Melbourne Park.
When Djokovic let the second set slip away in a tiebreaker, it was unclear how his body would react for the rest of the match. But the Serb never panicked. Instead, he focused and improved physically, winning 12 of the last 14 games in the match.
Djokovic was heckled and insulted by a small group of fans
Novak Djokovic has stressed that he does not want to be painted in a bad light by the media. “Well, first of all, I have to say it was the situation that involved few individuals, so I’m not generalizing here.
Most of the people, super majority of the people, is here or some other situations that I had in the past in some other tournaments, is always respectful,” Novak Djokovic stated. “They are great fans and pay the ticket to watch you.
I respect that. That’s sport. Some people like you more, cheer for you, some don’t. It’s not something that I would say I have a problem with,” he added.