Novak Djokovic’s coach finally reveals the truth behind his ‘illness’ following claims that the 24-time Grand Slam champion was unwell before his crushing Australian Open semi-final defeat to eventual champion Jannik Sinner

  • Djokovic was taken to task by the 22-year-old in 6-1, 6-2, 6-6 (8-6), 6-3 toppling
  • The 36-year-old had not lost in Australia since a fourth-round exit six years ago
  • He described it as ‘one of the worst Grand Slam matches’ he had ever played

Novak Djokovic’s coach Goran Ivanisevic has addressed claims that the record Grand Slam champion was hampered by an illness during his Australian Open semi-final defeat to Jannik Sinner. 

The Serbian was uncharacteristically of colour against the eventual champion in Melbourne last month, winning only four games in the first two sets before rallying in the third. 

Djokovic’s dreams of a stunning comeback – and ambitions of claiming an 11th title at the tournament – were dashed by the young Italian, who wrapped things up 6-3 in the fourth. 

The 36-year-old admitted it was ‘one of the worst Grand Slam matches’ he had ever played, while rumours swirled in the Serbian press of a fever that had hindered his play. 

However, Ivanisevic has denied reports of Djokovic being unwell and insisted that the world No 1, who had never lost an Australian Open semi-final, had to taste defeat eventually.

Goran Ivanisevic addressed claims that Djokovic was hampered by illness and injury during the Australian Open

Novak Djokovic described being 'very shocked' by his level against Jannik Sinner last month

Novak Djokovic described being ‘very shocked’ by his level against Jannik Sinner last month

‘Sooner or later he had to lose, we were all aware of that.’ The former Wimbledon champion told Sportske Novosti. ‘It’s just a shame that it happened this way, but against Sinner if you’re not 100 per cent, you have nothing to ask for. 

‘And even when you’re at 100%, you can still lose. However, the whole Australian Open was somehow not right for Novak, from the first round onwards. Well, let’s move on, it’s nothing so tragic.

Djokovic had earlier suffered a wrist injury during the United Cup in Perth, where he lost to Alex de Minaur, though he had claimed it was fully healed by the start of the Open. 

The Serbian lost out to eventual champion Jannik Sinner (left) in the semi-final in Melbourne

The Serbian lost out to eventual champion Jannik Sinner (left) in the semi-final in Melbourne

‘No, nothing bothered him, Nole was healthy.’ Ivanisevic added. ‘It just didn’t work out… It can happen to him too, he’s flesh and blood too. On the other hand, if he was going to lose to anyone, I’m glad it was Sinner.’

Djokovic saw his 33-match, six-year unbeaten run Down Under come to a stuttering halt, while the 22-year-old Sinner went on to claim his first major title after a dramatic victory against Daniil Medvedev in the final. 

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