'He's Clearly Not Well': McNamee On Djokovic's Physical Well-Being At Australian Open

'He's Clearly Not Well': McNamee On Djokovic's Physical Well-Being At Australian Open

by Nurein Ahmed

Novak Djokovic is not operating at his peak physical capacity at this year's Australian Open, according to a former Australian tennis player.

Djokovic, 36, arrived in Melbourne to defend his title under distress. A wrist injury visibly perturbed him during his first tournament of 2024 at the United Cup, where he lost on Australian soil for the first time in 43 matches.

The Serb was quick to quell fears that the injury would derail his preparations for the year's first major and was confident about recovering ahead of schedule. That certainly has been the case, despite Djokovic sporting a protective sleeve in the build-up to the tournament.

Djokovic has played injury-free so far, winning the longest first-round match of his Grand Slam career by beating Dino Prizmic of Croatia. Victories over Alexei Popyrin and Tomas Martin Etcheverry thrust Djokovic's name into the second week.

The top seed made short work of French lefty Adrian Mannarino in a clash of the veterans in the fourth round. He needed less than two hours to win the match by the bizarre score, 6-0, 6-0, 6-3. It was Djokovic's most accomplished performance at the tournament.

But despite sauntering into a record-tying 58th Grand Slam quarterfinal, former World No. 24 Paul McNamee expressed concerns about Djokovic's health, having noted his coaching team looked apprehensive during the lopsided match against Mannarino.

Djokovic has been forthright about his physical well-being, admitting that he was not healthy in his first two matches of the tournament. But there is more than meets the eye, according to McNamee, who took to X (formerly Twitter) to share his concern, adding that there is a limit to his mental resilience.

"In all my time, I’ve never seen a player box so concerned at 5 love up first set than Goran & co in Djokovic’s box… he’s clearly not well…what mental fortitude to be able to push through it, but there will be limits."

Djokovic will play USA's Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinal on Tuesday. The 36-year-old leads the Californian 8-0 in their head-to-head meetings, but Fritz pushed him to five sets when they last faced each other at the Australian Open back in 2021.


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