Injured Djokovic pulls out of Adelaide exhibition match then reappears for second set

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The exhibition event in Adelaide that included several of the world’s best tennis players got off to a rather dull start on Friday after World No. 1 Novak Djokovic pulled out of his match against Jannik Sinner.

According to the schedule, Djokovic was supposed to kick off the “Day at the Drive” event in front of a crowd of 4,000 at Adelaide’s Memorial Drive Tennis Club but pulled out minutes before he was due on the court and was replaced by his compatriot Filip Krajinovic.

However, after Krajinovic won the first set, the World No 1 stepped into the arena to help his compatriot win 6-3, 6-3 over the Italian teenager.

“I’m sorry that I didn’t step in on the court from the beginning,” said Djokovic to Reuters. Djokovic earlier told reporters that he taken a walk in a part to celebrate his first day of freedom after two weeks in quarantine. “I had to do some treatment with my physio, I wasn’t feeling my best for the last two days and I didn’t know how I was going to react,” he said.

Djokovic looked unhindered by the blister on his right palm. “It’s not easy but it’s part of what we do, we’re professional athletes, we learn over the years to play with the pain,” he added.

“It’s just a case of whether that pain is bearable or not. Obviously, coming off a hard training block and having the ATP Cup and Australian Open coming up you don’t want to risk it too much.”

Djokovic and Krajinovic will be a part of the Serbia team defending the ATP Cup in Melbourne next week before the former plays for his ninth Australian Open Title on February 8, 2021.

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