Novak Djokovic issues alarming injury update and makes Holger Rune ‘fireworks’ prediction

Kevin Palmer
Novak Djokovic with Holger Rune in Monte-Carlo
Novak Djokovic with Holger Rune in Monte-Carlo

Novak Djokovic appears to have made a miraculous recovery from the knee injury that threatened his hopes of playing at Wimbledon, but he has revealed he is still battling to manage the issue.

Djokovic headed into Wimbledon with huge question marks over his fitness after he underwent knee surgery on June 5.

The injury forced him to withdraw from the French Open ahead of the quarter-finals and while he is just one win away from the same stage at Wimbledon, he has admitted his knee is still a concern.

Djokovic has worn a grey knee support during his first three matches at Wimbledon, but he has been positive when asked about his fitness levels over the last couple of weeks.

Now he has given the first indication that he is still concerned about his knee problem, as he spoke to Sport Klub ahead of his fourth round match against Holger Rune.

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“I am glad that you think it’s okay, that’s how it should seem, but it’s far from it,” Djokovic stated.

“I did move a lot better compared to the first two matches, I am playing more freely in that regard, but it’s far from okay – we are working on the (physiotherapist’s) table all the time so that I am able to play every next match.”

Djokovic practised with Nick Kyrgios once again on Sunday, as he looked forward to a match against Rune that offers the potential for fireworks on Monday.

“I think he has always had a very good working ethics. He’s been a very dedicated guy,” said Djokovic of Rune.

“Once he sees something is off, he’s going to go out on the practice court and he’s going to work on it. That’s what I always loved about him. I think he’s very all-around player.

“He can play equally fast and well and aggressive, both aggressive and defensive from both corners, forehand, backhand. All surfaces.

“He’s probably lacking a bit more consistency with his results comparing to Sinner, Alcaraz, which are his generation. He looks to me as a player that is ready for big things.

“It takes a little bit of time maybe for him mentally, as well, to mature and to gain experience and to understand how he needs to play in certain moments and so forth on a big stage. But he’s got quite a bit of experience already for a 21-year-old, if I’m not mistaken.

“So he’s been working. He’s been working very hard. I think his serve is a big weapon now. Maybe it wasn’t so much in the past. Serve and forehand.

“Of course, backhand is as solid as anybody’s. Return, as well. Close to the line. Really trying to take away the time from his opponent.”

Rune has beaten Djokovic twice in their five meetings and the Serbian confirmed he has a good relationship with his next opponent.

“I actually get along very well with him. He’s a very nice guy. Always has been to me and to my team, and vice versa,” added Djokovic.

“I always try to be available to him for any practice or advice or guidance or anything like that. I remember him since he was quite young. He appeared I think in south of France, Monaco, where I was based, been training.

“We trained a lot on different surfaces, spent some time. His mother, his sister, they all been quite nice to us. I like our relationship. I think we get along very well. We respect each other.

“I think we have quite similar styles of tennis. But when it comes to playing on the court and competing, obviously we both have that fire.

“I’m sure that on Monday we’ll see a lot of fireworks on the court. He’s a spectacular player, no doubt. He loves the big stage, loves playing on grass. I think he’s very, very tricky opponent. It’s going to take my best tennis to win.”