Novak Djokovic’s bid to win his third straight Australian Open is in serious jeopardy despite defeating Taylor Fritz on Friday to advance to the fourth round of the tournament.
Speaking with reporters after the match, Djokovic revealed that he has a muscle tear that might force him to retire from the event.
“I know it’s a tear, definitely, of the muscle. So I don’t know if I’ll manage to recover from that in less than two days,” said Djokovic. “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know if I’m going to step out onto the court or not.”
Djokovic got a comfortable 7-6, 6-4 lead over Fritz to start the match, and it seemed like he was heading to another easy win. But the contest took an unexpected turn when the reigning Australian Open champ awkwardly slipped while attempting to change directions.
Djokovic had to take a medical timeout and was obviously not at 100 percent once he returned. Fritz used his opportunity and crawled his way back by winning the next two sets with 3-6, 4-6.
Still, when it mattered the most, Djokovic rallied and managed to hold off the 23-year-old American in the fifth.
“I am just very proud of this achievement tonight,” Djokovic added. “Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
Novak Djokovic is set to play against the No. 14-seeded Canadian Milos Raonic in the fourth round on Sunday. Raonic has faced Djokovic 11 times before and never managed to defeat him.