Australian Open

Djokovic: My fitness is fine

2012-01-25 17:18
Novak Djokovic (File)

Melbourne - Defending champion Novak Djokovic dismissed concerns over his fitness after outlasting David Ferrer on Wednesday to set up an Australian Open semi-final showdown against Andy Murray.

The tenacious Spaniard pushed Djokovic hard, manoeuvring him all over the court, but the top seed stepped up his game when it mattered to win 6-4, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 in 2hr 44min.

Djokovic caused a scare when he grimaced in pain, clutching his left hamstring, as Ferrer levelled at 2-2 in the second set. He looked tentative and uncomfortable before shrugging off the problem to win the set on a tie-break.

"Luckily for me it wasn't something that stayed there for a long time. It was just a sudden pain. But, look, you could expect before coming to this match that it's going to be very physical," said Djokovic, 24.

"David makes you run, makes you play an extra shot, makes you earn your points. I think I was hitting the ball really well from the baseline."

And Djokovic, who also said he had struggled with his breathing in the run-up to the match, gave himself a clean bill of health for Friday's semi-final against Murray, a repeat of last year's final won by the Serb.

"I don't have any physical issues. I feel very fit and I feel mentally, as well, very fresh," he said.

"It's just today I found it very difficult after a long time to breathe because I felt the whole day my nose was closed a little bit. I just wasn't able to get enough oxygen. I needed more time, which I didn't have."

Djokovic said he employed various strategies to prepare for matches, including breathing exercises, without revealing details.

The world No 1 earned a crucial service break in the fifth game of the first set which proved enough for him to take the lead against the fifth seed, after nearly an hour full of punishing rallies.

Looking tired at the end of the first set, Djokovic produced a stunning blind, backhand winner at full stretch from the back of the court early in the second as he broke in the first game.

After a second set lasting 76 minutes, he stepped up a gear with Ferrer unable to keep up his earlier intensity.

"Already after a couple of games I was feeling it was going to be a long match," Djokovic said.

"There was a big mental advantage to getting two sets up," he said, adding that he had stepped up his aggression as the match wore on.

Read more on:    australian open  |  novak djokovic


Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk
Most Read


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

6 reasons Boks won’t botch it
Fiji far too strong for Uruguay
Burger hopes for elusive World Cup win
As it happened: Fiji 47-15 Uruguay

Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

/World Cup
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


Take a photographical trip down memory lane and remind yourself of how the Springboks fared in their five previous Rugby World Cup campaigns. In addition, pick your all-time Springbok Rugby World Cup Dream Team and you could win R3 000!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.