Novak Djokovic reacts to his media coverage in February
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Novak Djokovic has intensified concerns about his condition ahead of his Australian Open return after he cancelled a practice session on Monday. The Serb is carrying a hamstring issue, prompting concerns over his prospects of challenging for a record-levelling 22nd Grand Slam.
Djokovic is set to start his Australian Open campaign against unseeded Spaniard Roberto Carballes Baena on Tuesday.
His return to Melbourne has been eagerly anticipated after his banishment from the tournament last year due to his unvaccinated status.
However, fears continue to grow over whether he will be at 100 per cent or ready at all to compete Down Under.
According to journalist Sasa Ozmo, Djokovic has cancelled a practice session initially scheduled to take place at 8am (7pm local time).
Tournament organisers have confirmed the decision, potentially making it the second successive day he has opted against practising in public.
He also dropped out of a practice hit with Daniil Medvedev last week after suffering from a hamstring strain during his Adelaide International win to begin 2023.
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Djokovic had shaken off injury worries by featuring in an exhibition match with Nick Kyrgios on Friday.
But a day later, the 35-year-old sparked unease over his condition for Tuesday’s opener with an injury admission.
He told reporters: “Well, I’ve been struggling with that a bit, to be honest, the last seven days. But it’s hopefully not the major concern.
“So far, I’ve been able to train, compete and play points, practice sets. So that’s a positive sign.
“Obviously, I’m being a bit more cautious. I’m not going full out on the training sessions, conserving the energy for next week. Hopefully, it won’t cause an issue for me then.”
Since that exhibition, Kyrgios has withdrawn from his home Grand Slam through injury, and there is unsurprisingly concern that Djokovic could follow.
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