The world No.1 had raised doubts of his further participation in the tournament at that point, saying he had torn a muscle. Interestingly, he went from strength to strength following the five-set tussle, even acknowledging that he was playing without pain. He, however, refused to dwell on injury.
“It is a tear, a muscle tear of the abdominal oblique muscle. I felt it right away in the third round,” Djokovic clarified after clinching his 18th major title. “I know there’s been a lot of speculation, people questioning whether I’m injured, how I recovered so quickly. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but, at times, it was a bit unfair.”
World No.2 Rafael Nadal was among those who wondered aloud on the severity of the Serb’s injury. While his quarterfinal opponent, German Alexander Zverev, didn’t think Djokovic was struggling in their match.
Djokovic held details — of his road to recovery in the last week — close to his tee, saying it would feature in the documentary on him that will come out at the end of the year.
Djokovic noted that he directed all his thoughts and energy in the last week to recovering rather than dwell on what was being said about him.
“Sometimes it’s really difficult to avoid it. It does come across here and there, when you’re watching a match, commentary, someone mentions it. It’s not nice to hear. It also seems unfair that some people criticize without checking,” he said. “Look, at the end of the day, everyone who has the stage has the right to say what they want to say. It’s whether I’m going to react or not, in which way I’m going to react, winning the trophy is my answer.”
Djokovic will tie Roger Federer’s record of 310 weeks as No.1 on March 1, and surpass the Swiss with his 311th week on March 8th.