Tennis

Novak Djokovic Won 2023 Australian Open With Hamstring Tear

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley says Novak Djokovic played with a tear in his left hamstring en route to a championship

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Novak Djokovic won the Australian Open with a muscle tear of three centimeters -- a little more than an inch -- in his left hamstring, tournament director Craig Tiley said on Wednesday.

The Serbian tennis star sustained the injury in a tune-up tournament ahead of the Australian Open in Adelaide and admitted to undergoing great amounts of maintenance between matches to perform Down Under.

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He was even doubted by many to be performing so well despite dominating the court. He only lost one set in the entire tournament to be exact.

“He gets a bad rap, but at the end of the day, I don’t think anyone can question his athleticism. This guy, I did see, he had a 3-centimeter tear in his hammy,” Tiley in an interview with SEN Sportsday.

“The doctors are ... going to tell you the truth,” Tiley said. “I think there was a lot of speculation of whether it was true or not. It’s hard to believe that someone can do what they do with those types of injuries. But he’s remarkable.”

Djokovic won his 22nd Grand Slam singles title on Sunday after defeating Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets. The 35-year-old currently holds the record for most major titles with Spain's Rafael Nadal.

Throughout the tournament, Djokovic said he was taking painkillers to play with the injury, but the process was a "rollercoaster" to deal with.

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“Let me put it like this: I don’t say 100%, but 97% of the players, on Saturday when you get results of the MRI, you go straight to the referee's office and pull out of the tournament,” Djokovic's coach, Goran Ivanisevic, said after the final. “But not him. ... His brain is working different.”

After winning the Australian Open, Djokovic returned to the world No. 1 ranking.

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