There is a lot on the line for Novak Djokovic, who is dealing with a lingering hamstring injury during the 2023 Australian Open.
The Serbian tennis star said after his first round win over Spain’s Roberto Carballés Baena on Tuesday that his injury is “not ideal, but it's getting there.”
Upon arriving in Australia, Djokovic said he hasn’t been going as hard on the practice court as he would have liked leading up to the Grand Slam. Fans were also concerned when the 35-year-old canceled his practice session on Monday to heal his body.
“Haven't had too much training in the last few days, to be honest with you, tennis-wise,” Djokovic said.
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With the win, Djokovic is one match closer to winning his 10th Australian Open singles title, regaining the world No. 1 position and tying Rafael Nadal for most singles Grand Slams at 22.
The long list of players with injuries continues to grow, especially on the men’s side with star players No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, No. 21 Nick Kyrgios and 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic out.
One question fans are raising is why Djokovic and Kyrgios opted to play in an exhibition the Friday before the tournament started despite the state of their bodies. Oftentimes, players get out of tennis commitments ahead of big tournaments to prevent further injury.
Djokovic is set to take on the winner of France's Enzo Couacaud and Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien in the second round.