Djokovic’s “Frightening” Tennis in the Australian Open

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Djokovic jokes with Medvedev during the Australian Open trophy presentation

Parashar Bharadwaj, Writing Apprentice

After a far-from-normal Australian Open, heavy favorite Novak Djokovic took home the men’s singles title. 

The Serbian tennis star made no mistake in playing—in the words of Eurosport commentator Simon Reed—“frightening” tennis in his initial matches. But after breezing past Jeremy Chardy and Frances Tiafoe in the first and second rounds, Djokovic experienced a small hiccup in the third round against American Taylor Fritz, citing an abdominal injury in the press conference after the five set match. Unsure of the severity of his injury, Djokovic said, 

“I don’t know if I’m going to step out onto the court or not. I’m very proud of this achievement tonight. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”

The injury proved to have minimal impact for the rest of the tournament, after he comfortably beat Milos Raonic and Alexander Zverev in four sets and breezed past Russians Aslan Karatsev and Daniil Medvedev in three sets to win the title. 

As a result of COVID-19 restrictions, the tournament was held from Feb. 8 to the 21, three weeks later than usual. Players followed a strict timetable of practice, nutrition and the gym, all during a 14-day quarantine in a hotel. Djokovic initially faced backlash from requesting leniency in quarantine procedures and responded to the criticism before the tournament.

“I’ve earned my privileges the hard way, and for that reason, it is very difficult for me to be a mere onlooker knowing how much every help, gesture and good word mattered to me when I was small and insignificant in the world pecking order,” Djokovic said. “I used an opportunity to brainstorm about potential improvements that could be made to the quarantine of players in Melbourne that were in full lockdown.”

Despite the initial controversy, Djokovic’s Australian Open triumph was a strong display of calculated, methodical tennis. Passing Roger Federer’s Wimbledon record, Djokovic now has nine Australian Open titles.

“I just somehow always manage to find the best game when it matters the most,” Djokovic said. “The more I win, the better I feel coming back each year”