Nine-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic reportedly pulled out of a practice match against Daniil Medvedev on Wednesday due to a problem with his left hamstring five days before the Grand Slam.
The Serbian superstar returned to Melbourne after his deportation last year, but he needed treatment and then ended his duel with the Russian, losing the first set.
The Melbourne Park session was supposed to last 75 minutes but was instead cut short after just over half an hour as a precaution, ABC and 9News Melbourne reported.
“It’s the hamstring that I had problems with in Adelaide last week,” Djokovic said, according to 9News.
“I just felt drawn and I didn’t want to risk something worse. I played a set and apologized to him (Medvedev), and he understood.
“I just want to avoid the big fears of the Australian Open,” he said.
Djokovic, who won the Adelaide crown on Sunday despite a lingering hamstring problem, is a hot favorite to win again in Melbourne.
The 35-year-old is expected to play Nick Kyrgios in a rerun of last year’s Wimbledon final on Friday before a sold-out crowd at the Rod Laver Arena in another practice match.
Djokovic, one of the best tennis players of all time with 21 major crowns, was deported from Australia a year ago for his stance on Covid vaccines.