Novak Djokovic: ‘He was locked in up to the very last shot’

Novak Djokovic reached the round of 16 of the Australian Open for the 15th time in his career. The Serbian champion defeated Grigor Dimitrov in three close sets and managed to overcome his left leg problems. In the third set, the Serb seemed to have physical problems and relied on his serve and solid defense to prevent the Bulgarian from getting back into the match. His next rival will be Alex De Mi├▒aur, who will be able to count on the support of the local public at the Rod Laver Arena. In his press conference, Djokovic spoke of the confidence that victory in the tie-break brought him with a score of 9-7, canceling out two set points. “It was important, like the other parties. I think it was one of the most important moments of the game. Prevailing and taking the lead was crucial. Being up or down a set makes a big mental and physical difference”, said the Serb. “The first set was very balanced. I started the game very well, I felt good. Then there were a lot of ups and downs with the leg problem. I found a way to win a very exciting match, a great battle that lasted over three hours. If I had lost a set, the match would have been very long. I was lucky to get through the round in three sets.” Injury? “I always start matches well, including this last one, then make some moves during the match and it gets worse. The pills work, I use some creams. This works for a while, then it wears off and after a few minutes it works again. It’s like being on a roller coaster, really. This requires a lot of mental and physical energy. I have to manage the game, my opponent and a physical condition that is not ideal. But that’s the way things are. It is a situation that you have to accept. I am very grateful for having the opportunity to play.”

Nole reached the second week at the AO

Novak Djokovic is not taking anything for granted after beating Grigor Dimitrov on Saturday. “Turning point was the very first game, every point mattered. Physically, I was going up and down, I admire and respect Grigor, one of most talented players. He was locked in up to the very last shot. Incredible battle. Every season counts, I guess, now. When you come to last stage, last quarter of your career, you start appreciating and to value every single tournament even more, that you might not have too many left in the tank.”