Tennis 2023: Novak Djokovic hits back at Australian Open injury sceptics, hoping for exemption to play at Indian Wells

Novak Djokovic has ripped into the critics who claimed he didn’t have as severe a hamstring injury as claimed after winning his record tenth Australian Open, saying he did not have “the time, energy or will” to deal with conjecture about the injury.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley claimed that Djokovic played the tournament with a 3cm hamstring tear, sustained during the Adelaide International in the lead up to the first Grand Slam of the year.

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Djokovic fielded questions for the first time since leaving Melbourne as he prepares to head to Dubai for the Dubai Tennis Championships.

The Serbian played with significant amounts of tape around his leg for most of the tournament, and cancelled multiple training sessions, occasionally struggling with movement.

Despite this, Djokovic’s hard court dominance continued at Melbourne Park, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final in straight sets.

“I really do not have the time, energy or will to deal with every story that appears on the internet, or what someone says about something,” Djokovic said.

“I know what is right and what is true.”

Djokovic said he would compete in Dubai, and hoped to be able to travel to the US for their hard-court season, which includes Indian Wells, the Cincinnati Masters and US Open.

The United States’ restrictions on unvaccinated visitors lift on May 11, and so Djokovic will look to play in the US for the first time since 2020.

Djokovic has said he is waiting on a special exemption to enter the US, with Indian Wells beginning its main draw on March 9.

“My plans after Dubai depend on the US,” he said.

“I’m waiting for a reply, it’s not on me…I will know soon.

“Everything is in process.

“I’m thankful to the Indian Wells and Miami communities for their support.

“They would like me to be able to play in their tournaments.

“I’m looking forward to a positive decision coming soon, but it’s not in my hands.

“Last year, I missed Indian Wells, Miami and the US Open so it won’t be the first time if it happens.

“I hope it doesn’t.

“The US Open is still far away so I hope I’ll be able to be there.

“I’ve received the most wonderful support from the New York and American crowd during the 2021 final I lost to Daniil Medvedev.

“So I want to go back and connect with people and hopefully, play my best tennis and get another trophy there.”

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