In the United Cup clash between the Czech Republic and Serbia on Tuesday, Novak Djokovic called for a medical timeout between sets due to an injury on his right wrist. Former Australian player John Alexander has stated the use as a strategic one.
Serbia was trailing 1-0 in the tie when Novak Djokovic went out to play. Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic gave a good start by winning the first match against Olga Danilovic. Novak Djokovic faced Jiri Lehecka in the second match which was a must-win game for Serbia.
The 36-year-old Djokovic dominated the first set with a 6-1 victory, but Lehecka fought hard and won the second set in the tiebreaker. Djokovic recovered in the third set and won the game 6-1, 6-7(3), 6-1 which gave Team Serbia a victory in the tie.
It was Djokovic’s medical timeout after losing the second set that caught the attention of Former World No.8 John Alexander and he questioned the Serbian’s achievements because of the way he has used it throughout his career.
“The injury timeouts- if there is a question mark over his greatness in his entire career, it is the way it has, in many people’s minds, strategically used timeouts.”
Djokovic receiving treatment on his right wrist.— José Morgado (@josemorgado) January 2, 2024
MTO between sets. pic.twitter.com/JYoLgmaPzH
“After the loss of the second set, take an injury timeout to have his wrist massaged for five minutes, breaking the opponents concentration, maybe having thoughts entering his opponents head’gee maybe he will default, I’m all over for the night. Then he picks himself up, wins the next five games, wins the third set 6-1.”-John Alexander in an interview with ABC News
Some of the most notable incidents that critics consider the use of medical timeouts as a tactic rather than a necessity were in the 2016 US Open final against Stan Wawrinka and the 2020 Australian Open final against Dominic Thiem.
Novak Djokovic’s wrist injury linked to ball change raises Rafael Nadal’s eyebrow
Rafael Nadal has raised his concern about the size of tennis balls in Australia following his exit from Brisbane International. This came to light when Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios blamed the ATP after Novak Djokovic suffered a wrist injury in a match at the United Cup.
Following his injury, the Serbian complained to the ATP CEO Andrea Gaudenzi over players having issues with their equipment. This issue was earlier raised by Daniil Medvedev who stated that changing tennis balls between events was leading to more injuries.
Nadal who crashed out of the Brisbane International criticized the ball size following his second-round win against Jason Kubler. He stated that it was too large, which made it difficult to play properly in humid night conditions.
“To be honest, the ball in that end of the first set was super big. Was difficult to move the ball the proper way. I think the ball gets too big sometimes, especially under these humid and night conditions. I don’t know what’s going on with the ball, but it’s dead. With the new balls, of course the situation changed a lot.”-Rafael Nadal in his post match interview in Brisbane International