An intense Novak Djokovic has brushed aside injury concerns after defeating Daniil Medvedev on Saturday night to set up an Adelaide International final against Sebastian Korda.
The top seed, who has an ominous 22-1 record since September, was breathtaking at times as he cruised past the former world number one Russian 6-3, 6-4 in preparation for the Australian Open, where he is a nine-time champion.
World number five Djokovic broke in both sets on Medvedev double-faults before lifting his intensity to storm home.
But he had a scare in the first set, clutching his left hamstring as he attempted to reach for a Medvedev cross-court forehand.
The 35-year-old briefly continued before taking a medical timeout.
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The Serbian star was then seen repeatedly grabbing at his hamstring in discomfort, while also stretching it out in the second set.
It was an ongoing trend that clearly irked his Russian opponent, who appeared to mimic Djokovic’s complaints late in the second set.
Aussie tennis great John Fitzgerald suggested Medvedev’s antics were an attempt to insinuate Djokovic was playing up the injury, an accusation Djoker has been subjected to on numerous occasions throughout his career.
“I think Medvedev is insinuating that there’s nothing wrong with Novak … a wry smile, feeling his own hamstring up high,” Fitzgerald said in commentary for Nine.
“If Novak picks up on that, he won’t appreciate it, by the way.
“I’m just getting a bit of amusement here from Daniil,” Fitzgerald later added.
“He’s hip-hopping and jumping on his left hamstring every time he wins a point here now.”
Respected tennis journalist José Morgado couldn’t get enough of the antics, writing on Twitter: “Medvedev mocking Djokovic’s injury by touching his left thigh and limping between points while smiling to his box. I need my popcorn.”
Djokovic appeared unfazed by Medvedev’s antics and later told reporters the injury wasn’t a major concern ahead of the Australian Open.
“Thankfully nothing too serious, if it was I wouldn’t be able to continue,” he said.
“I just tried with some anti-inflammatories and it kind of settled in after a few games.
“I was just trying to keep the momentum going and don’t allow him to break my serve. The longer the match went my hamstring was warmer, I guess, and bothering me less.
“Hopefully for tomorrow it will be all fine,” he added.
Meanwhile, unseeded Sebastian Korda, son of former world number two Petr Korda, was in charge 7-6 (7/5), 1-0 of his match when Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka called for a medical timeout for treatment in his upper right leg before retiring hurt.
“Very excited for the way I’m playing and a lot of confidence leading into the big one (final),” said 22-year-old Korda, 22, who won his first and only title on clay in Parma in 2021, while making two finals last year.
“Excited to play either one (Djokovic or Medvedev). It’s always a great thing to learn from different kinds of players.
“It’s going to be a great learning experience whatever the outcome and, you know, I’m going to go for the win.”
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