Novak Djokovic admits he ‘didn’t want to risk it too much’, but ‘just had to play’ in Adelaide

Novak Djokovic on court

Novak Djokovic has explained why he eventually decided to play in the Adelaide exhibition tournament after initially withdrawing from the event.

The world No 1 along with Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Jannik Sinner as well as WTA stars Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams took part in A Day at the Drive on Friday.

Djokovic, though, withdrew minutes before he was due to take on Sinner and was replaced by fellow Serbian Filip Krajinovic.

However, the 17-time Grand Slam winner emerged for the second set and the Serbian duo eventually won the match 6-3, 6-3.

“I’m sorry that I didn’t step on the court from the beginning,” Djokovic told Nine later.

“I had to do some treatment with my physio and wasn’t feeling my best the last couple of days. I didn’t know how I was going to react. I wanted to play and I wanted to get out here and hopefully it was enough for you guys.

“It’s not easy (to play with the blister) but it is part of what we do. We’re professional athletes and we learn over the years to play with pain and it’s just a question of whether that pain is bearable or not.

“Coming off a hard training block and having the ATP Cup and the Australian Open around the corner, you don’t want to risk it too much. The emotion was so strong in me to come out on the court today to see full stands and I just had to play.”

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