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Novak Djokovic gives fitness update after Carreno Busta accuses him of feigning injury concerns



Novak Djokovic


Novak Djokovic

Pablo Carreno Busta made a startling accusation on Wednesday when he alleged that top seed Novak DJokovic was feigning injury concerns during their quarter-final meetings at French Open 2020. 17th seed Carreno Busta took the first set 6-4 only to go down in 4 sets and crash out of the competition.

Novak Djokovic seemingly wasn’t in top gear in the first set as he had headed into the match with a strap on his neck and his movements were restricted. Carreno Busta though was ruthless as he came up with spotless service games while Djokovic was struggling with it, getting only 40 percent of his first serves in.

After losing the first set, Djokovic received treatment on-court as his trainer worked on his upper-left arm. Djokovic was feeling uncomfortable but after the on-court treatment, the Serb was able to manage a strong comeback and fend off the threat from the 17th-seed Spaniard.

Djokovic needed 3 hours and 10 minutes to beat Carreno Busta 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 but the Spaniard wasn’t happy with the treatment Djokovic received. Notably, Carreno Busta had beaten Djokovic when the Serb was defaulted during his Round of 16 match at US Open — the only loss for the World No. 1 in the ongoing season.

“Each time he is in trouble he usually does it, that means to say that he was in trouble, that he wasn’t comfortable and that I was playing at a high level and was causing him to doubt himself. Every time a match gets complicated he asks for medical assistance. He has been doing this for a long time. I already knew that. I knew it would happen at the US Open, I knew it would happen here and I know it will keep on happening,” Carreno Busta said.

“I don’t know if it’s something chronic in his shoulder or just mental, but he didn’t put me off.”

Don’t want to get into it too much: Djokovic

Meanwhile, Djokovic said he did not feel great before coming into the match but he is feeling okay after overcoming his neck and shoulder issues during the quarter-final. Djokovic will face 5th seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-final as he bids to win his 18th Grand Slam at Roland Garros this year.

“I definitely didn’t feel great coming onto the court today, a few things happened in the warm-up. I had some neck issues and some shoulder issues. I don’t really want to get too much into it. I’m feeling okay, I’m still in the tournament so I don’t want to reveal too much. As the match went on, I felt better, and didn’t feel as much pain,” Djokovic said.

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Novak Djokovic enters French Open semi-finals but faces fitness battle

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Novak Djokovic is still in the French Open – but only after a drawn-out struggle in four sets on Wednesday night against Pablo Carreño Busta, the Spaniard who cashed in at the US Open when the world No 1 was disqualified for striking a line official with a spare ball. It was not a joyous reunion.



Novak Djokovic is swinging a racket at a ball: Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images


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Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

A month after their shared New York drama, Carreño Busta had notions of winning on his own merits after taking the first set of the second quarter-final on day 11, but Djokovic ignored nagging pain in his upper left arm and his neck as he cobbled together a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 win in 3hr 10min under the lights on Court Philippe Chatrier. He has two days to recover before playing Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday, and he will need every waking hour of them.



Novak Djokovic is swinging a racket at a ball: Novak Djokovic plays a forehand during his French Open quarter-final victory against Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain.


© Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Novak Djokovic plays a forehand during his French Open quarter-final victory against Pablo Carreño Busta of Spain.

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If the 2016 champion is to win the title again he has to beat injury, an in-form Tsitsipas and, probably, the 12-time champion, Rafael Nadal, who plays Diego Schwartzman in the other semi-final. It is the sort of mountain Djokovic loves climbing, but the question remains: is he fit and strong enough to reach the summit?

Djokovic was cleared to play in Rome, where he beat Schwartzman in the final, and in Paris after testing positive for coronavirus on his Balkans exhibition tour earlier in the summer – but he looked a physical mess in the first set. Sweating and anxious, he grimaced, tugged at his arm and bandaged neck and tried to bang life into his upper legs with his racket as his opponent waited for his chances.

The tournament physio massaged Djokovic’s arm during the break and the player told him: “It feels better now.” Yet he did not look remotely comfortable, even when he got his serve working and levelled at a set apiece. The trainer returned between the third and fourth games, and it seemed to lift Djokovic’s spirits. Just when he looked as if he was slipping into a confused state again, he bounced back to level at a set apiece.

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He broke early in the third, overcame a blip when Carreño Busta broke back for 2-3, then hit hard again to go a set up. But he looked far from commanding. Carreño Busta dug his heels into the Roland Garros clay in the fourth, and Djokovic had to fight for every point. Carreño Busta chose a woeful option to hand him the break for 3-4, Djokovic saved break point to hold through deuce