AFP MICHAEL ERREY
Novak Djokovic withdrew from an exhibition match in Adelaide on Friday with a blister in his hand, but then returned to participate in Group Two to help fellow countryman Philipp Krajokovic in the victory over Yanik Sener.
World number one Djokovic was supposed to play in front of 4,000 spectators, but he withdrew minutes before the start of his match due to injury, with fellow countryman Philipp Krajnovic taking his place.
In a happy surprise for the fans, Djokovic came to the pitch to participate in the second group after Krajnovic, his training colleague, won the first set and settled the 6-3, 6-3 victory over the young Italian player.
“I feel sorry for not being able to play from the start,” said the Serbian player, who enjoyed his first day after the end of the mandatory 14-day quarantine.
He continued, “I have been treated and have not been in my best condition in the last two days, and I have not known my reaction.”
He added, “It is not easy, but it is part of what we do. We are professionals. Over the years we have learned to play despite the pain.”
And he added, “Is the pain likely or not, certainly after the hard training and before the start of the ATP Cup and the Australian Open, you avoid taking risks.”
Djokovic and Krajnovic will seek to defend the ATP Cup title for teams next week before the world number one kicks off his journey to claim his ninth title at the Australian Open on February 8th.