Australian Open boss Craig Tiley has revealed Novak Djokovic played the tournament with a three-centimetre tear in his hamstring. Djokovic battled a hamstring issue all throughout the tournament after first injuring it at the Adelaide International in the lead-up.
The 22-time grand slam champion was seen with heavy strapping on his leg during a number of matches, but never revealed the full extent of the injury. On Wednesday, Tiley made the staggering revelation about just how bad Djokovic's hamstring was.
"This guy I did see, he had a three-centimetre tear in his hammy," Tiley told SEN radio. "Absolutely (I saw the scans), the doctors are going to tell you the truth.
"There was a lot of speculation about whether it was true or not, it's hard to believe that they can do what they do with those kind of injuries. He's remarkable, to deal with it extremely professionally."
Speaking after Sunday night's final, Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanisevic said most players wouldn't have kept going if they had the same injury. But Djokovic is a different beast.
“This is definitely the best win for Novak. Not just because of what happened last year, but also because of the last three weeks," he said. "I thought I’d seen everything when he won here in 2021, but this one was unbelievable. To play like that everyday, better and better, it’s so impressive.
“97 percent of the players would have pulled out upon the MRI scan. He’s from another planet, the way he works. He gave everything. I didn’t expect this; I was shocked. Against (Grigor) Dimitrov, I was scared, but he came through it all."
Tiley added on Wednesday: "He's so focused on everything he does, with every single minute of the day. That's what he eats, what he drinks, when he does it, how he does it.
"There's no breakdown or mental breakdown in anything that he does. He's been through a lot and to win 10 Australian Opens, I don't think that's ever going to be repeated. He'll hold a significant place in the history of the Australian Open."
Novak Djokovic thought about quitting Australian Open
Speaking after his second-round victory at Melbourne Park, Djokovic admitted he thought about withdrawing from the Australian Open before it even began. But he fought on and ended up winning his 22nd career grand slam title - equalling Rafa Nadal's all-time men's record.
“I’m just very grateful that I’m actually able to play,” he said at the time. “The way it looked just before the tournament started, I thought that it wouldn’t be possible.
“I’m still here and still holding on. I don’t know what awaits, but I do hope and I have faith for the best.”
In his on-court speech after clinching his 10th Australian Open title, Djokovic said it had been one of the most difficult tournaments of his career. "I have to say that this has been one of the most challenging tournaments I have ever played in my life, considering the circumstances not playing last year, coming back this year," he said.
"Only the team and the family knows what we've been through in the last four or five weeks. And this probably is, I would say, the biggest victory in my life considering the circumstances."
Now thanks to Tiley, everyone knows. And it makes Djokovic's triumph all the more remarkable. The development left tennis fans and commentators stunned on social media.
Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open with a 3cm tear in his hamstring, per Craig Tiley.
That means 2 of the last 4 Grand Slams have been won by 35-year-old men (Djokovic & Nadal) while playing with significant injuries.
The younger guys must be wondering if it will ever end. pic.twitter.com/hanLvT1FS9
— Joe Pompliano (@JoePompliano) February 1, 2023
Incredible effort. I had a 2cm hamstring tear years ago and it was horrible. Took me a while to recover.
— Huddo281 (@Huddo281) February 1, 2023
— sunshine. (@crazyheadimp) February 1, 2023
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