July 22, 2024
Novak Djokovic

‘This was the biggest match of my career. I wanted to do anything I could to play,’ says Alex de Minaur. Photograph: Alberto Pezzali/AP

Novak Djokovic received a ­walkover into the Wimbledon semi-finals on Wednesday after the seven-time cham­pion’s sche­duled opponent, the Australian Alex de Minaur, withdrew because of a hip injury.

De Minaur, the ninth seed, sustained the injury on Monday at the end of his victory against the Frenchman Arthur Fils. At the time, he thought he would be fit to play but he lasted less than 10 minutes of a practice session on Wednesday morning and said the risk of further injury was too high.
“I’m devastated,” De Minaur said. “I have to pull out due to a hip injury, a little tear of the fibrocartilage that is at the end or connects to the adductor.

“I felt a loud crack during the last three points of my match against Fils. I got a scan yesterday [Tuesday] and it confirmed that this was the injury and with high risk of ­making it worse if I was to step on court.”

It is a huge disappointment for the 25‑year‑old De Minaur, who had made it through to the quarter-finals here for the first time, backing up his run to the last eight at the French Open last month.

“It’s devastating, I haven’t really been able to enjoy what I’ve achieved this week because I knew once I felt that pop, I knew something bad had happened,” he said.

“In the grand scheme of things it could have been worse, so I’m trying to hold on to that.”

De Minaur, who said he had been struggling to sleep and felt pain when walking, said ­doctors told him his recovery could be three to six weeks, but their con­fidence was low because of the nature of the injury.

“I haven’t been able to tell me a definitive recovery plan because it’s such a unique injury,” the Australian said. “It’s based on my pain, a little. Right now, it can be anywhere from three to six weeks, it just depends how quickly my body heals.

“It’s no secret that at this stage this was the biggest match of my career. I wanted to do anything I could to play.

“I got the results yesterday. I knew what the results were yesterday but I still wanted to wake up today and feel some sort of miracle. But one stretch, one slide, one anything could make this injury go from three to six weeks to four months, so it’s too much to risk.”

Djokovic, trying to win a record 25th grand slam title, will now have two days off before playing the ­the No 25 seed Lorenzo Musetti on Friday after the Italian prevailed in a marathon five-set epic against Taylor Fritz.

Djokovic is now through to a record‑equalling 13th Wimbledon semi-final as he attempts to win an eighth title.

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