Record winner and defending champion Novak Djokovic only survived the third round at the Australian Open.
The world number one physically battered himself against American Taylor Fritz in the second round with 7: 6 (7: 1), 6: 4, 3: 6, 4: 6, 6: 2.
Djokovic was treated several times on the abdominal muscles in a bizarre match that left the audience in a hurdle due to the initial lockdown.
“This is definitely one of the most special wins in my life, no matter which opponent it was against and in what times it was,” Djokovic said. He does not yet know whether he can play his next match against Milos Raonic (Canada).
The 33-year-old Serb was threatened with an early exit from the Grand Slam. Also at the US Open in late summer, Djokovic unfortunately ended early – at the time he hit a line judge with a ball and was disqualified.
In Melbourne, Djokovic is aiming for his ninth title win and his 18th Grand Slam win. This would enable him to narrow the gap between major record champions Rafael Nadal (Spain) and Roger Federer (Switzerland / both 20). In the quarter-finals, he could meet Germany’s number one Alexander Zverev.
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