- Novak Djokovic complained of being unwell at Australian Open
- Djokovic, 36, said post-match his level of tennis ‘was not great’
- Serbian has won 10 Grand Slam titles in Melbourne since 2008
A report emerging from Serbia has claimed a fever was the catalyst for Novak Djokovic’s shock semi-final loss at the Australian Open.
Quotes attributed to journalist Luka Nikolić on social media state the 24-time Grand Slam winner was battling a fever the night before he lost to eventual champion Jannik Sinner.
Djokovic looked a different player on Rod Laver Arena on Australia Day, easily losing the first two sets before forcing Sinner to a fourth.
‘Novak got a fever the night before the semi-final,’ Nikolic – who is employed by Meridian Sport Global and has previously worked for sport outlet B92 – reportedly said this week.
‘[It was] something similar to what [Alexander] Zverev had.
A report emerging from Serbia has claimed a fever was the reason behind Novak Djokovic’s shock semi-final loss at the Australian Open
The 24-time Grand Slam winner contracted the fever the night before he lost to eventual champion Jannik Sinner
‘He was sick for three weeks, and then he had a relapse. That’s why he played so badly in the first two sets, you could see he was so weak and couldn’t do it.
‘He couldn’t play well in those conditions. He didn’t want to go to the doctor so the journalists wouldn’t bother him and make a fuss.’
Following Nikolić’s comments, Djokovic’s many fans felt the result would have been different if the 36-year-old was at peak fitness.
‘Anyone who was watching this match knew something was VERY off. This makes complete sense,’ tweeted one supporter in response.
‘Plenty of us knew Novak wasn’t right from the first ball of that match. We all know that he will be back and better than ever,’ another wrote.
A third said: ‘That seems right. He looked flat all match. Didn’t even shout at his box, which he does even when winning comfortably.’
Djokovic’s many fans failed to acknowledge the brilliance of Sinner, who didn’t offer one break-point opportunity to the world No.1 across four sets.
According to the report, ‘Joker’ had an illness similar to the one that struck Alexander Zverev (both players are pictured leaving Melbourne after the Open)
Some tennis fans reacted to the news by claiming Djokovic would never have lost to Sinner had he been in better health
Sinner was a worthy winner no matter what Djokovic’s health situation was – he didn’t give the Serb a single opportunity to break his serve across four sets
Post-match, Djokovic himself praised Sinner, before stating his on-court performance was ‘sub-par’.
‘I was shocked with my level, in a bad way. There was not much I was doing right in the first two sets. I guess this is one of the worst grand slam matches I’ve ever played, at least that I remember,’ he said.
‘It’s not a very pleasant feeling. But at the same time, credit to Jannik for doing everything better than me.
‘I tried, I fought. Just overall…the level of my tennis was really not great.’