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Novak Djokovic: ‘Issues Are Going In The Proper Course’ | ATP Tour

After reaching his ninth Australian Open semi-final with a four-set win over Alexander Zverev on Tuesday, Novak Djokovic shared an optimistic replace on the belly damage he suffered in his third-round conflict with Taylor Fritz.

Final Friday, the 33-year-old’s bid to affix Rafael Nadal as solely the second man to win 9 or extra titles at a single Grand Slam occasion was virtually ended within the first week of the match. Djokovic sustained an belly damage in the course of the third set of his third ATP Head2Head encounter towards Fritz, however he took dangers on his serve and claimed two late breaks in a deciding set to advance to the Spherical of 16.

Since then, Djokovic has skipped apply periods and defeated Milos Raonic and Zverev in four-set battles to maneuver two wins away from a record-extending ninth title in Melbourne. 4 days on from his five-set win towards Fritz, Djokovic advised reporters that his stomach problem seems to be enhancing.

“The positive thing is that I actually felt the best today — from the beginning of the second set until the end of the match — that I have since the third round against Fritz when the injury happened,” mentioned Djokoic. “It means that this is going in the right direction, and fingers crossed that in two days it will stay the same.”

Novak Djokovic is aiming to seize a record-extending ninth Australian Open title.” />

Djokovic’s reward for his win towards Zverev is a spot within the Australian Open semi-finals. The World No. 1 isn’t any stranger to competing within the latter phases of the match at Melbourne Park, however he’ll face a brand new problem when he steps onto Rod Laver Area for his subsequent match.

Djokovic can be going through Grand Slam debutant Aslan Karatsev for a spot within the championship match in Melbourne. Like many tennis followers, Djokovic watched the Russian qualifier for the primary time at this match.

“I had not seen him play, honestly, before [the] Australian Open,” mentioned Djokovic. “I have seen him play during the tournament here, and he impressed me, [he] impressed a lot of people. His movement, his firepower from baseline. [He has a] flat backhand, [he is straight from the] Russian school [with a] great backhand. [He] also hits some good forehands [and] dictates the play. He is impressive. [He was] two sets down against Felix [and] came back. He was just very solid against Grigor… He’s there for a reason, and I congratulate him for [his] great success.”

Whereas Djokovic chases 20-time Grand Slam titlists Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal within the historical past books, Karatsev has already made historical past in Melbourne. The Russian is the primary participant from his nation to achieve the semi-finals on the Australian Open since 2005 champion Marat Safin.

Karatsev will enter his first match towards Djokovic because the underdog, however that has been the case all through this occasion. In his final three matches, the 27-year-old has crushed eighth seed Diego Schwartzman, No. 20 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime and No. 18 seed Grigor Dimitrov.

“It’s his first semi-final [at a] Grand Slam, so obviously for him it’s [the] biggest success he has had so far,” mentioned Djokovic. “He doesn’t have anything to lose, really. He’s motivated. I expect him to come out and really go for his shots and try his best and try to take that win.”

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Karatsev won’t be the one participant attempting to realize one thing for the primary time. Djokovic is making an attempt to win a Grand Slam with out practising on his days off, a tactic which has aided his belly restoration in current days.

“I have had a roller coaster of a tournament, to be honest… [I have] not trained on [my] days off already two times,” mentioned Djokovic. “I’m not going to [train] tomorrow as well… I have not ever experienced that, to be honest, and I have never experienced this kind of injury during a Grand Slam and kept going.”

Djokovic has needed to compromise at this 12 months’s match. By not practising, he’s lacking out on the chance to sharpen his abilities for his subsequent match. However, in his present situation, restoration is taking precedence over apply.

“I don’t feel like I need to practise in terms of getting half an hour or an hour on the court because I need to work on something,” mentioned Djokovic. “I have had enough tennis… Right now, the priority is recovery. The more time I have to recover and not exert too much energy and not make any quick moves, the better it is for me.”

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