World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has had a lot of success at Melbourne Park throughout his career but this Australian Open will be remembered as one of the most challenging campaigns for him in Australia.
Djokovic, a record eight-time Australian Open champion, suffered an abdominal injury in the third round against American Taylor Fritz but managed to continue the tournament and make his ninth final at Melbourne Park.
On Thursday, top-seeded Djokovic handed a straight-set defeat to qualifier world No. 114 Aslan Karatsev to make the final at Melbourne Park yet again.
“Well, it’s difficult to compare, to be honest, because I have never experienced a kind of an injury, you know, that I have experienced in the third round here and head to deal with all of the things that I dealt with in the past five days,” Djokovic said, when asked to compare this Australian Open campaign to his previous campaigns at Melbourne Park, per Ravi Ubha.
“I also had tough matchups, you know. I had big hitters, Fritz, Raonic, Tiafoe, Zverev, all big servers, big game. I just had to deliver my best.”
Djokovic admits it has been physically demanding
After suffering an injury against Fritz, Djokovic managed to continue the tournament and then beat 2016 Wimbledon runner-up Milos Raonic, world No. 7 Alexander Zverev and Australian Open sensation Karatsev.
“It took a lot out of me. I was exhausted, especially after Zverev’s match, but I was thrilled to overcome those huge challenges. I knew that once I triumphed over Zverev that, you know, things will be better, will get better for me. I just had that kind of inner feeling and proved to be right,” Djokovic added.
Djokovic, who beat Dominic Thiem in a five-set Australian Open final last year, will be battling against either world No. 4 Daniil Medvedev or sixth-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas for a record ninth title at Melbourne Park.
Djokovic beat Aslan Karatsev to make his ninth Australian Open final.