Nadal, 36, will return to Spain for treatment and, in line with his team, “the conventional time estimated for complete recuperation is between six and eight weeks.” That may likely mean that Nadal will miss the subsequent block of hardcourt events, including the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif. But when he recovers, Nadal may very well be able to compete throughout the clay-court season. He has dominated on clay for near twenty years and will aim for a fifteenth singles title on the French Open.
But Novak Djokovic, Nadal’s longtime rival who’s chasing his record of twenty-two Grand Slam singles titles, stays in contention in Melbourne despite his own injury challenges. Djokovic, a nine-time Australian Open champion, began the tournament with a nagging left hamstring injury. He aggravated it on Thursday night in his victory, 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-0, over Enzo Couacaud, a French qualifier ranked 191st who sprained an ankle early within the match but managed to proceed.
Late within the second set, Djokovic, along with his left hamstring tightly wrapped, began wincing and landing awkwardly on some shots, looking removed from wanting to slide into his signature defensive splits. He even limped and pulled up as he ran to his left for a backhand at one stage.
With a third-round matchup against Grigor Dimitrov scheduled for Saturday, Djokovic conceded that his situation going forward within the tournament was “not ideal.”
“I’m fearful,” he said of his injury. “I mean, I cannot say that I’m not. I actually have reason to be fearful. But at the identical time, I actually have to just accept the circumstances and take a look at to regulate myself with my team.”
Djokovic said he was minimizing or eliminating practice sessions on days between matches. In 2021, he won his ninth Australian Open after tearing an abdominal muscle within the third round.
“Someway I pushed it through and won the tournament,” Djokovic said. “But it surely’s different now, obviously. I don’t know the way my body’s going to react. I hope for the very best. I hope for the positive end result. I’ll take it day-to-day, match by match and see the way it goes.”