Novak Djokovic was a strong contender to win the 2023 Australian Open due to his history of success at Melbourne Park, but his latest achievement came with extra difficulty. The Serbian star took this year's trophy with a muscle tear of about an inch in his left hamstring, according to Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley.
"He gets a bad rap, but at the end of the day, I don't think anyone can question his athleticism," Tiley said on Wednesday, per ESPN. "This guy, I did see, he had a 3-centimeter tear in his hammy.
"Absolutely (I saw the scans), the doctors are going to tell you the truth. I think there was a lot of speculation of whether it was true or not. It's hard to believe that someone can do what they do with those types of injuries, but he's remarkable.''
"This guy, I did see, he had a 3cm tear in his hamstring."— SEN 1116 (@1116sen) February 1, 2023
Australian Open boss Craig Tiley with a remarkable revelation about Novak Djokovic on @SENSportsday overnight.#AusOpen pic.twitter.com/SU8laTsj6v
It was no secret that Djokovic was not completely healthy coming into the tournament. His hamstring was bugging him from an injury he suffered at the Adelaide International -- a tournament he also won -- earlier in January.
He did show signs of struggle through the competition but pushed through with the help of trainers, pain killers and mental strength.
"I leave the doubting to those people – let them doubt," Djokovic told Serbian media in January. "Only my injuries are questioned. When some other players are injured, then they are the victims, but when it is me, I am faking it. It is very interesting… I don't feel that I need to prove anything to anyone."
Djokovic's win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday's final gave him the 10th Australian Open trophy of his career, as well as his 93rd ATP title. It was also his 22nd Grand Slam title, which tied Rafael Nadal's record. Djokovic arrived as the No. 5 ranked player in the world but climbed to No. 1 in the latest ATP rankings, extending his record-breaking stint to 374 weeks at the top.
"He's extremely professional," Tiley said. "He's so focused on everything he does, with every single minute of the day. What he eats, what he drinks, when he does it, how he does it.
"There's no breakdown or mental breakdown ever in anything that he does. He's been through a lot and to win 10 Australian Opens, I don't think that's ever going to be repeated to the extend that he is done it.... He'll hold a significant place in the history of the Australian Open."