Rafael Nadal’s uncle weighs in on Novak Djokovic injury after Australian Open concerns

Australian Open: Novak Djokovic discusses injury issues

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Novak Djokovic seems to have shrugged of a ‘torn muscle’ in his abdominal to reach the Australian Open quarter-finals but Toni Nadal, uncle to world No 2 Rafael Nadal, reckons the Serbian needs to be less secretive about his problems.

Djokovic encountered the injury while he was two sets up against Taylor Fritz in the third round.

It looked like the 33-year-old was about to drop out of the tournament as he struggled to compete for the next two sets and the match went to a decider.

Amazingly Djokovic began to find his form again in the fifth set and he proclaimed the victory one of the best of his career.

He then claimed he may pull out of the tournament over fears he had torn a muscle.

A further update followed in which the world No 1 confirmed he had had an MRI scan but he was not going to reveal what the results where.

Djokovic returned to action on Sunday where he beat big-serving Milos Raonic in four sets to set up a quarter-final showdown with Alexander Zverev.

But Toni Nadal is surprised at how quickly the 17-time Grand Slam winner recovered after initially being so open about his fears.

“Who also seems to have overcome his physical problems is Novak Djokovic, who has managed to qualify for the quarter-final round after defeating Canadian Milos Raonic,” Nadal wrote in his column for El Pais.

“In the case of the Serbian, it is surprising that so repeatedly annoyances come over him, to the point of sowing doubts about his permanence in the tournament, and then disappear overnight.

“I will not be the one who doubts the veracity of their pain, something very common in an elite athlete.

“It probably hides them less than it should, a normal practice on the circuit.

“More than once, a player loses due to annoyances that he keeps to himself so that they do not sound like an excuse.”

Toni Nadal’s nephew Rafael has also had his own concerns in Melbourne as he pulled out of the Australian Open warm-up matches with a back problem.

The Spaniard has admitted that the injury has not completely gone away but he is battling through it.

And Serena Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou also raised questions over Djokovic’s injury.

“I have more doubt for Novak’s end of the tournament than for Rafa, who seems to be okay controlling the pain,” he told Tennismajors.com.

“In the case of Rafa, who has a back problem, and in the case of Novak, who has an abdominal problem, they know it’s an injury and they know it can get worse.

“Rafa clearly tries to shorten the matches, (to) be more aggressive than usual, because he doesn’t want the matches to last too long. He doesn’t want to have to make too many physical efforts moving and trying to retrieve balls. He prefers to be in control of the rally, because if he is in control of the rally, he is also in control of his body.

“You can feel that he isn’t going 100 percent and he’s trying to control what he’s doing, because he knows that if on one shot he goes too far and exaggerates the effort on the zone where he has the pain, then the injury can go to the next level and then maybe he will have to pull out.

“Mentally, it’s an incredible effort to play tennis all while trying to control your motions and not activate the zone that is in pain.

“Novak will have to do the same. For Novak I think it’s worse because it’s the abdominals, and you use the abdominals on every shot.”

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