MELBOURNE: The Adelaide exhibition event involving the world’s best players got off to an underwhelming start on Friday when world number one Novak Djokovic pulled out of his match against Jannik Sinner.
Djokovic was scheduled to kick off the “Day at the Drive” event in front of a crowd of 4,000 at Adelaide’s Memorial Drive Tennis Club but pulled out minutes before he was due on court and replaced by his compatriot Filip Krajinovic.
Former Grand Slam doubles champion John Fitzgerald said on Channel Nine TV that the Serbian had withdrawn because of a blistered hand, which would not impact his bid for a ninth Australian Open title at Melbourne Park from Oct. 8. Djokovic earlier told reporters he had taken a walk in a park to celebrate his release from the 14 days of quarantine players coming from overseas were obliged to undergo to play in Australia. Serena and Venus Williams, Naomi Osaka, Rafa Nadal, Dominic Thiem, Ash Barty and Simona Halep are all scheduled to play later matches.