Novak Djokovic admits he needs more time to recover after Melbourne defeat

A trainer works on the elbow of Serbia's Novak Djokovic during his fourth round match against South Korea's Chung Hyeon at the Australian Open. (AP)
Updated 22 January 2018
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Novak Djokovic admits he needs more time to recover after Melbourne defeat

LONDON: Novak Djokovic admitted he may need yet more time on the sidelines after he was stunned was stunned in straight sets by Hyeon Chung.
The 58th-ranked Chung relentlessly attacked Djokovic — who is playing his first tournament since Wimbledon because of an injured right elbow — in the 7-6, 7-5, 7-6 fourth-round win.
Djokovic, a five-time winner of the year’s first Grand Slam, played in great discomfort with a recurrence of his right elbow injury. And as if that was not bad enough he also appeared to be suffering from possible hip/groin problems.
And that left the former world No. 1 to contemplate another sustained stint out of action.
“Yeah, unfortunately, it’s not great. Kind of end of the first set it (elbow) started hurting more. So, yeah, I had to deal with it till the end of the match,” Djokovic said.
“Now I don’t know. I have to reassess everything with my team, medical team, coaches and everybody, scan it, see what the situation is like,” he added.
“In the last couple weeks I’ve played a lot of tennis. Let’s see what’s happening.”
Having only confirmed his appearance at the tournament a week before the first round making it as far as the fourth round does constitute some sort of success for the 30-year-old. The elbow injury had prevented him from hitting a shot in anger since last summer and he was at least able to take the positive out of the negative of an early exit.
“I have to say I’m very grateful I had the chance to play. I didn’t know if I’m going to play or not,” Djokovic said.
“So I played four matches here. It was a good tournament. It’s disappointing to go out in the fourth round. The circumstances are such I have to accept it. That’s the reality.
“It’s frustrating when you have that much time and you don’t heal properly. But it is what it is. There is some kind of a reason behind all of this.”
However, Djokovic was keen to stress that Chung more than deserved his win.
“I don’t want to talk about my injury tonight because then I’m taking away Chung’s victory, the credit that he deserves,” the Serb said.


Naomi Osaka shocked as Kristina Mladenovic downs world No. 1 in Dubai

Updated 19 February 2019
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Naomi Osaka shocked as Kristina Mladenovic downs world No. 1 in Dubai

  • It was Osaka's first match since she won the Australian Open — her second consecutive Grand Slam title.
  • World No. 67 Mladenovic lost for words after surprise win.

DUBAI: Naomi Osaka stumbled badly in her first match since winning the Australian Open as the world number one went down in a flurry of errors to exit the Dubai Championships on Tuesday.
Dubai-based Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic claimed a 6-3, 6-3 victory to reach the third round as Osaka made 25 unforced errors.
The rout, which featured seven breaks of the Osaka serve, took barely an hour, sending Mladenovic into a Wednesday contest with Carla Suarez Navarro.
“This is my home tournament, I live here,” world No. 67 Mladenovic said. “It’s great to get a win like this in front of a big crowd.
“Beating the number one is always special.”
The second set was riddled with seven consecutive breaks of serve before Mladenovic finished off the job with a winner to the empty court on match point.
Osaka stunned the tennis world last week by announcing her split from coach Sascha Bajin despite winning back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the US and Australian Opens.
She said earlier this week that she would not prioritize “success over happiness” when asked about the sacking, and she never looked like winning in Dubai as she also served five double faults.
Earlier on Tuesday, Simona Halep and Petra Kvitova both won their opening matches, while Elina Svitolina made a strong start to her bid for a third straight title.
Kvitova, the 2013 winner, recovered from losing a first-set tiebreak to defeat Katerina Siniakova 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-4 and squeeze into the third round.
Halep, Dubai champion in 2015, saw off 2014 Wimbledon finalist Eugenie Bouchard 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.
The Romanian said she is still feeling the effects of her weekend final defeat in Doha by Elize Mertens.
“It was a good match because I won it. I tried to finish the points faster because I’m a little bit tired,” Halep said.
“She played well, the level was pretty good. At some points I really ran very well. I’m confident. I feel good on court even if I’m tired.”
A third former world number one also advanced as Angelique Kerber beat Dalila Jakupovic 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.
Kvitova, Wimbledon champion in 2011 and 2014, said she was unfazed about the early midday start to her match.
“I don’t really care if I play the first match,” the Australian Open runner-up said. “Now I’m done, so I have a free afternoon.
“I’m not sure what I’m pleased with... maybe with my comeback at the end.”