Novak Djokovic has hit out at claims he is “faking” an injury at the Australian Open, as he opened fire on his critics in an explosive press briefing.
The Serbian star gave his verdict to the world’s media after a convincing 6-2 6-1 6-2 victory over Australian Alex De Minaur, as he suggested his hamstring problem was easing after a challenging first week in Melbourne.
Social media snipers have suggested Djokovic is making the most of the injury, with the notion that a hamstring injury can improve while playing Grand Slam tennis raising some questions.
Djokovic was also questioned about his injury status during his last appearance at the Australian Open, as he won the title despite playing with a muscle tear.
He also had to respond to claims that his positive Covid test which initially gave him an exemption to play at last year’s Australian Open, before his visa was rejected, was not accurate, even though the then world No.1 has documentation to confirm he had the virus at a time when he was interviewed by a major publication.
Now Djokovic has hit back at his doubters, as he offered up some pointed comments while speaking to the Serbian media in Melbourne.
“I leave the doubting to those people – let them doubt,” said Djokovic, as reported by Tennis Majors.
“Only my injuries are questioned. When some other players are injured, then they are the victims, but when it is me, I am faking it. It is very interesting.
“I don’t feel that I need to prove anything to anyone.
“I have got the MRI, ultrasound and everything else, both from two years ago and now. Whether I will publish that in my documentary or on social media, depends on how I feel. Maybe I will do I it, maybe I won’t.
“I am not really interested at this point what people are thinking and saying. It is fun, it is interesting to see how the narrative surrounding me continues. A narrative that is different compared to other players that have been going through similar situations.
“But I am used to it, and it just gives me extra strength and motivation. So I thank them for that.”
Djokovic clearly seemed agitated by the suggestion that his injury claims are not as serious as he claims, with his comments earlier in the press briefing suggesting his hamstring injury is close to being resolved.
“I feel great in terms of mobility and movement on my leg, which is great news,” declared Djokovic.
“We take it day by day. We do a lot of things. It’s been honestly exhausting to be involved in a lot of treatments and machines, but it is necessary in order to get myself in a condition to play. I’m really glad my body is responding.
“Tonight, I didn’t feel any pain. I moved as well as I have the whole tournament, so we are moving in the right direction.
“Some days I feel good, some not so good. As I said on the court, I don’t want to celebrate too early, but what I felt tonight is fantastic.
“A certain movement was affected, change of directions. Maybe people watching me play don’t get to see that, but as a player on the court I can feel that.
“You have to deal with a certain amount of pain, but the concern was the next quick change of direction of movements.
“A week ago, I didn’t think about the title. I just thought about being in a good enough condition to play the match.
“The way I played in this match makes me feel like I can go all the way. The way my leg is now, I feel positive about it.
“Anything is possible. I have been in this situation so many time and this helps me to have a clear approach to the remaining days of the tournament and what I need to do.”
Djokovic’s army of fans will applaud his move to hit back at his doubters, but his comments are bound to draw more attention to his injury as he prepares for a quarter-final with Russian Andrey Rublev.
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