MELBOURNE, Australia ( Associated Press) – It took Novak Djokovic nearly a week of fuming over whether he could even play a match with his sore left foot to think he was fit to win the Australian Open .
He did just that on Monday by completing one game without any physical discomfort and going near-perfect in the Round of 16.
“Tonight, how I played, how I felt, gives me reason to believe I can win,” Djokovic said after defeating Australian Alex de Minaur (seeded 22nd) 6-2, 6-1, 6-2. Here I can reach the end goal. series) in the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park for the 13th time and 54th time in all Grand Slam tournaments.
Djokovic said, “I have always believed that I can reach the ultimate goal of my tennis.” Whose 21 major championships include nine in Australia. “But with how I felt in the leg before tonight, I wasn’t very optimistic about my options for the whole tournament. Tonight I feel positive that I can get it done”.
A year ago, Djokovic was thrown out of the country before the start of the Australian Open because he had not been vaccinated for COVID-19. It hasn’t been vaccinated yet, but the government’s health protocols have been relaxed.
After struggling with his foot in his first three matches of the tournament last week, with a few falls, occasionally calling for the help of a physiotherapist, the 35-year-old Serbian tapped Rod Laver to reach every corner of the pitch. Demonstrated his usual flexibility. Arena. ,
Djokovic won 42 of the 64 points that required five or more shots. He was better at 26–9 in game winners. He won each of his 12 games on serve, without facing a single break point. Regarded as the best in tennis for returns, perhaps the best in history, Djokovic had a dozen break chances and capitalized on half.
He broke the local hope’s serve in the first set to go up 4-2 and repeated it to kill it. Other breaks put him ahead 2–0 and 4–0 in the second. And took 1-0 and 3-0 leads in the third.
“He was under constant pressure. I didn’t have any free points in every game with my serve. It was an uphill battle from the start,” said De Minaur. “I was never able to plug into the game, complicate it, or put pressure on it.”
Djokovic said he felt “fabulous” and “in great shape in terms of mobility and movement”.
In addition to taking “a lot” of pain relievers for his hamstring, Djokovic said he used “various treatments, machines and other things” to make his leg better. He cautioned that “I don’t want to celebrate prematurely because I don’t know how the body is going to respond tomorrow or in the next game.”
His opponent on duty will be Russian Andrey Rublev. The fifth seed will enter Wednesday’s matchup with an 0-6 record in the quarterfinal round at the Slam. The second duel of the day would be starred by two unseeded twenty-something Americans who had thus far never gone to a major: Ben Shelton and Tommy Paul.
Other quarterfinal matches in the men’s section will be decided on Tuesday: Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (seeded third) against Czech Jiri Lehka (unseeded) and Russian Karen Khachanov (18th) against American Sebastian Korda (29th).
Djokovic is one of eight to have been crowned champion at a Grand Slam. And Tsitsipas is the only one who could reach the final of the final and lose – guess what – to Djokovic at the French Open in 2021.
“I’ve been in this position many times before,” Djokovic said, leaning back in his chair and bringing his palms to his chest. “From that point of view, I think that helps me more for the remaining days of the tournament and what I need to do. I have to keep an eye on other sports to see what others are doing. We’ll see what happens.”