Novak Djokovic suffered an injury scare just days before the start of the Australian Open as he complained of hamstring issues during a practice match against Daniil Medvedev.
Nine-time Melbourne Park champion Djokovic had to cut short the game against the Russian on Wednesday because of a left hamstring issue, according to reports.
The spotlight was on Djokovic the moment he landed in Australia for the Grand Slam, one year after his dramatic deportation from the country for his stance against the Covid-19 vaccine. The 35-year-old received a warm welcome from the crowd at the Adelaide International last week.
Djokovic made a high-profile return to Melbourne but required treatment and then ended the knockabout with Medvedev after losing the first set.
The session was supposed to last 75 minutes but was instead curtailed after just over half an hour as a precaution, the ABC and 9News Melbourne reported.
“It's the hamstring that I had problems with in Adelaide last week,” Djokovic said.
“I just felt it pulling and I didn't want to risk anything worse. I played a set and apologised to him [Medvedev] and he was understanding.
“I just want to avoid any bigger scares before the Australian Open.”
Djokovic, who won the Adelaide title on Sunday despite the lingering hamstring issue, is still seen as the favourite to triumph in Melbourne once again.
The Serb is scheduled to play Nick Kyrgios in a re-run of last year's Wimbledon final on Friday in front of a full house at Rod Laver Arena in another practice match. But whether that goes ahead remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley told the Herald Sun that any fans looking to taunt Djokovic will not be tolerated.
“If they disrupt the enjoyment of anyone else - boom, they are out,” he said. “We don't want them on site. They can stay away or we will kick them out.”