Pat Cash: Novak Djokovic is one wrong step away from hamstring injury ruining his Australian Open

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Pat Cash and top doctor say Novak Djokovic is ‘one wrong step’ away from having his Australian Open ruined by hamstring injury he was accused of faking

  •  Pat Cash and Dr Peter Larkins believe star’s injury is concerning
  •  Larkins says Djokovic is ‘one step away’ from serious problems
  •  Serb superstar has been accused by some of faking the injury

Australian tennis legend Pat Cash and a top doctor agree that Novak Djokovic’s hamstring injury is very serious – and ‘one wrong step’ could ruin the tournament for the Serb superstar.

The nine-time champion told media on Monday night that he was being singled out for criticism around the leg issues he has been suffering, and angrily denied that he’s been exaggerating the extent of the injury.

Australian tennis legend Pat Cash and a top doctor agree that Novak Djokovic’s hamstring injury is very serious – and ‘one wrong step’ could ruin the tournament for the Serb superstar

The nine-time champion told media on Monday night that he was being singled out for criticism around the leg issues he has been suffering, and angrily denied that he's been exaggerating the extent of the injury

The nine-time champion told media on Monday night that he was being singled out for criticism around the leg issues he has been suffering, and angrily denied that he’s been exaggerating the extent of the injury

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Djokovic’s hamstring has been bandaged throughout the tournament, though there was no sign of any ill effects in his recent performance against Australia’s Alex de Minaur.

Cash and sports medicine professional Dr Peter Larkins believe the hamstring is certainly on the mend, but it wouldn’t take much to derail Djokovic.

‘Just one strange move and if you are wrong-footed, or lunging, and it hasn’t quite healed 100 per cent, there is a risk,’ said Cash.

Aussie tennis icon Pat Cash (pictured) and sports medicine professional Dr Peter Larkins believe the hamstring is certainly on the mend, but it wouldn't take much to derail Djokovic

Aussie tennis icon Pat Cash (pictured) and sports medicine professional Dr Peter Larkins believe the hamstring is certainly on the mend, but it wouldn’t take much to derail Djokovic

‘There is no doubt there is a risk he could do something in the next few matches. It could be a strange move and he could pull up and it would be the end of his tournament, unless it is in the final and he would fight through.’

Dr Larkins agreed that the 35-year-old star needs to be careful in his movements on the court.

‘I am absolutely giving him the benefit of the doubt and don’t doubt it is real. There is probably some low-grade hamstring awareness there. It could be nerve-related,’ he said.

Dr Larkins said the 35-year-old star needs to be careful in his movements on the court

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Dr Larkins said the 35-year-old star needs to be careful in his movements on the court

‘He is probably so finely in tune with his body that even the slightest thing will be something he is aware of. But he is still one wrong step away from doing something more serious.’

Cash believes Djokovic’s commitment to recovery when he’s off the court is his secret to coping with the immense stress the World No. 4 puts on his body.

‘What Novak does, and it is well known, is that he goes into a hyperbaric chamber. And that is going to help the healing. It is just really clever,’ Cash said.

‘He tries all sorts of different things. He is always exploring, trying different things, coming up with solutions to aid his recovery. He just puts the hours in and recovers.

Cash believes Djokovic's commitment to recovery when he's off the court is his secret to coping with the immense stress the World No. 4 puts on his body

Cash believes Djokovic’s commitment to recovery when he’s off the court is his secret to coping with the immense stress the World No. 4 puts on his body

‘Some of it is genetics. Players that are light-bodied can bounce back a bit, but he just puts the extra effort in and he has a better chance of recovering from things.’

Djokovic has been backed by former two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka, who recalled being cross examined over her rib injury that prompted her 10-minute timeout in the Australian Open semifinal in 2013.

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‘It was one of the worst things that I’ve ever gone through in my professional career, the way I was treated after that moment, the way I had to explain myself until 10.30pm at night because people didn’t want to believe me,’ Azarenka said after her match on Tuesday night.

Djokovic has been backed by former two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka, who recalled being cross examined over her rib injury that prompted her 10-minute timeout in the Australian Open semifinal in 2013 (pictured)

Djokovic has been backed by former two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka, who recalled being cross examined over her rib injury that prompted her 10-minute timeout in the Australian Open semifinal in 2013 (pictured)

‘I actually can resonate what Novak said the other day. There is sometimes, like, I don’t know, incredible desire for a villain and a hero story that has to be written.

‘But we’re not villains, we’re not heroes, we are regular human beings that go through so many, many things. Assumptions and judgments, all those comments, are just shit because nobody’s there to see the full story. It didn’t matter how many times I said my story, it did not cut through.’

Djokovic will square off against Andrey Rublev in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

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