Novak Djokovic plays one set in Adelaide exhibition after initially pulling out with blistered hand

Serbian helped compatriot Filip Krajinovic beat Jannik Sinner at the “Day at the Drive” event in Adelaide

Djokovic apologises

World number one Novak Djokovic pulled out of an Adelaide exhibition because of a blistered hand on Friday before appearing on court to play a set after all, helping his compatriot Filip Krajinovic beat Jannik Sinner.

It was a welcome return to matters on the court for Djokovic after weeks of disputes over Australia’s quarantine measures

The 17-time Grand Slam winner was scheduled to kick off the "Day at the Drive" event  ahead of the Australian Open in front of a crowd of 4,000 at Adelaide's Memorial Drive Tennis Club.

But Djokovic pulled out minutes before he was due on court and was replaced by Krajinovic.

After his practice partner had won the first set, however, Djokovic bounded into the arena and proceeded to wrap up a 6-3 6-3 win over the Italian teenager.

"I'm sorry that I didn't step in on the court from the beginning," said Djokovic, who was celebrating his first day of freedom after 14 days in quarantine.

READ MORE: Nick Kyrgios: Novak Djokovic is tennis’s LeBron James but sometimes he needs setting straight

"I had to do some treatment with my physio, I wasn't feeling my best for the last two days and I didn't know how I was going to react."

Djokovic looked to be largely unhindered by the nasty-looking blister on the palm of his right hand.

"It's not easy but it's part of what we do, we're professional athletes, we learn over the years to play with the pain," he added.

Djokovic poses after the Adelaide exhibition

"It's just a case of whether that pain is bearable or not. Obviously, coming off a hard training block and having the ATP Cup and Australian Open coming up you don't want to risk it too much."

Djokovic and Krajinovic will join forces again in the Serbia team defending the ATP Cup in Melbourne next week before the former launches his bid for a ninth Australian Open title on 8 February.

Loading....

Serena Williams beat Naomi Osaka 6-2 2-6 (10-7) in a 'super breaker' in the second match with both players united in their excitement at playing in front of fans. "We haven't played in front of a crowd in over a year so it's been a really long time," said Williams, who has been isolating with her 3-year-old daughter.

"We were so happy just to be here. Now it's worth it." Rafa Nadal, Dominic Thiem and Simona Halep are all scheduled to play later matches after also coming out of quarantine. Women's world number one Ash Barty takes on Halep in the final match of the day.

Reuters

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in