Novak Djokovic says he will reassess his fitness situation after a painful defeat to South Korean youngster Chung Hyeon at the Australian Open Monday.
The Serb former world No.1 played in great discomfort with a recurrence of his right elbow injury and a possible hip/groin problem sustained during the three-set loss in the fourth round on Monday.
The six-time winner said his physical situation was “not great” and he would discuss matters with his team medical staff in deciding what to do in the early part of the season.
“Yeah, unfortunately, it's not great. Kind of end of the first set it (elbow) started hurting more. So, yeah, I had to deal with it till the end of the match,” Djokovic told reporters after the match.
“Now I don't know. I have to reassess everything with my team, medical team, coaches and everybody, scan it, see what the situation is like,” he added. “In the last couple weeks I've played a lot of tennis. Let's see what's happening.”
Djokovic came to Melbourne without playing a tournament since Wimbledon in July when a right elbow injury forced him to shut down his 2017 season.
“I have to say I'm very grateful I had the chance to play. I didn't know if I'm going to play or not,” Djokovic said. “So I played four matches here. It was a good tournament. It's disappointing to go out in the fourth round. The circumstances are such I have to accept it. That's the reality. It's frustrating when you have that much time and you don't heal properly. But it is what it is. There is some kind of a reason behind all of this.”
Djokovic said he had been hoping to get through the tournament, but the level of pain was not enough to force him to retire from the match.
It was the first time since 2007 that he has lost in straight sets at the Australian Open.
“As a professional athlete, you have to deal with pain at a certain level. You kind of get used to that,” he said. “I felt the level of pain was not that high that I needed to stop the match, even though it was obviously compromising my serve. That is a big shot, especially against Chung, who returns well, and gets a lot of balls back. But, yeah, I don't want to talk about my injury tonight because then I'm taking away Chung's victory, the credit that he deserves. “