Novak Djokovic jokes he knows the real reason he & Rafael Nadal can’t compete with Roger Federer right now
The 12-time major winner beat the current world No. 1 in a gruelling match that lasted five hours and 53 minutes at Melbourne Park – the longest Grand Slam final in history – and the Serb posted a video of the condition both men were in after the match.
Nadal and Djokovic were struggling to stand during the lengthy speeches from Australian Open organisers and sponsors, with chairs eventually brought onto the court for the players to sit down.
The pair have struggled with injuries in 2017 and 2018, with Roger Federer securing a 20th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open amid their problems.
And Djokovic joked that the physical exertion from 2012 – where the 30-year-old also beat Andy Murray in a near-five-hour semi-final – has played a role in their current plight.
Along with the video, he posted on Instagram: ‘No wonder we need rehab now @rafaelnadal’.
Federer has avoided a meeting with Djokovic in each of his last three Grand Slam successes, although he enjoyed an excellent win streak over Nadal throughout 2017.
However, with the Spaniard joining Djokovic and Murray on the sidelines with fresh injury woes, Federer has the opportunity to return to world No. 1 with a run to the semi-finals in Rotterdam next week.
Though Nadal is expected to take to the court in February in Acapulco, the length of Djokovic’s latest spell away from the sport is less clear.
The Serb underwent a ‘small medical intervention’ on his elbow after experiencing pain during his fourth-round defeat to Hyeon Chung at Melbourne Park and he has begun rehab on the problem area.
‘Looking back and feeling inspired in rehab this week. Let’s get it. #beastmode #tbt,’ he said in another post on Instagram.