Novak Djokovic bloodied in the semifinals of the Australian Open.
Novak Djokovic sent an ominous warning to his Australian Open rivals, cranking it into top gear, despite revealing that he has been hooked on machines to treat his lingering hamstring injury for the past several days.
Djokovic was earlier in his quest for a 10th Open crown to beat fifth seed Andrey Rublev 6-1 6-2 6-4 on Wednesday to reach his 44th grand slam semi-final and 10th at Melbourne Park.
Two nights after Djokovic destroyed Australian hope Alex de Minaur in the fourth round, the world No 5 defeated five-year-old Rublev in one match at Rod Laver Arena.
Djokovic heads into his semi-final as a serious loser in the first encounter against unseeded American Tommy Paul, who beat compatriot Ben Shelton 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 5-7 6-4.
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“In the last two matches, playing against two guys who are really good players, players in form, hitting them dominantly in threes is something that is definitely something that I want at this moment, something that sends a message to all my opponents in the draw,” he told reporters.
» With this type of match, of course, the level of confidence rises, depending on the circumstances.
“I feel good on the court, better and better than in the development tournament. I have been in this situation so many times in my life, in my life, I have never lost a semi-final at the Australian Open.
“Hopefully it will stay the same.”
In Adelaide, a hamstring injury suffered at Melbourne Park has affected the Serbian’s return, after he missed the 2022 tournament following his deportation because he was not vaccinated against Covid-19.
Djokovic has been nursing his left thigh throughout the campaign, but his form has been ominous as suggestions that he was untrue or that he was playing with injury.
After disparaging Rublev’s work, the injury struck his management.
“To be honest, I’ve been connected to the devices more than I’ve been in my bed or anything else really in days,” Djokovic said.
“I’ve tried every bio-feedback machine on this planet to get my leg up and running. I’m going to walk.
“I miss tennis in the days away, but at the same time I think it’s important to be smart and smart with the body in these special circumstances, where it’s more important to recover and prepare for the next challenge.”
Only Roger Federer (46) has made more semi-final appearances than the 35-year-old Djokovic, who is trying to match Rafael Nadal’s age at 22.
The Greek star’s act of vanity almost makes the kid pick up the ball.
Djokovic is now on a 39-match winning streak in Australia heading into 2018.
After beating world No 6 Rublev, Djokovic has now won 22 of his past 23 matches against top 10 opponents at Melbourne Park.
Djokovic was only really bothered by the windy conditions on court and the constant heckling of the spectators as he won the first set comfortably.
Rublev was reduced to cries of frustration on numerous occasions in the second set, but could not find an answer as he kicked Djokovic to seal victory.
Rublev has now advanced to seven major quarter-finals without reaching the semi-finals.