John McEnroe enters the debate on Novak Djokovic’s hamstring injury

Kevin Palmer
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

Tennis legend John McEnroe has admitted he is confused by Novak Djokovic’s hamstring problem at the Australian Open, the the debate over the severity of the injury continues.

Djokovic has been at the eye of numerous storms over the course of his career, with his deportation from Australia last January over his Covid vaccine status the biggest of them all.

Now he has been caught up in more controversy at this year’s Australian Open, with cynics suggesting the hamstring injury that was hampering him in the opening week of the tournament was not as serious as he suggested.

Djokovic hit back at those claims as he suggested his injuries are viewed with more scepticism than his rivals in feisty comments given to the Serbian media.

“I leave the doubting to those people – let them doubt,” said Djokovic, as reported by Tennis Majors.

“Only my injuries are questioned. When some other players are injured, then they are the victims, but when it is me, I am faking it. It is very interesting.

“I don’t feel that I need to prove anything to anyone.

“I have got the MRI, ultrasound and everything else, both from two years ago and now. Whether I will publish that in my documentary or on social media, depends on how I feel. Maybe I will do I it, maybe I won’t.

“I am not really interested at this point what people are thinking and saying. It is fun, it is interesting to see how the narrative surrounding me continues. A narrative that is different compared to other players that have been going through similar situations.

“But I am used to it, and it just gives me extra strength and motivation. So I thank them for that.”

Two years ago Djokovic suffered an abdominal muscle injury during his third-round match against Taylor Fritz before going on to win the title. And there have been other matches, notably the 2015 final here against Andy Murray, where he appeared to be struggling badly only to recover and win.

But he has not always managed to play through injuries. He retired during the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2017 because of an elbow problem, while at the US Open in 2019 a shoulder issue led to him pulling the plug in the fourth round.

His last defeat in Australia, in the fourth round against Chung Hyeon in 2018, meanwhile, prompted him to undergo elbow surgery.

Now McEnroe has given his verdict on the hamstring problem, as he suggested Djokovic will win the Australian Open if his hamstring injury does not halt his progress.

“I’m not sure what to make of it,” he said of Djokovic’s hamstring issue, speaking during the Australian Open, which is live and exclusive on discovery+ and Eurosport

“A couple of years ago, he had an injury and he won the tournament.

“Then the other night he looked fantastic against Alex De Minaur.

“He has a great team around him that are working 24 hours a day to get him ready and it seems like the hamstring… it’s hard to say if it’s affecting him at all.

“It didn’t seem like it affected him at all in his last match and in the others it was affecting him.

“If he is playing at the level we saw against (De Minaur), I expect him to win the tournament.

“After everything that happened last year, it’s just good to see him there and competing again.”

Watch every match from the Australian Open live and exclusive on discovery+ and Eurosport