All the relief of Novak Djokovic, after his victory against Grigor Dimitrov this Saturday, is felt in this photo.

All the relief of Novak Djokovic, after his victory against Grigor Dimitrov this Saturday, is felt in this photo. — Aaron Favila/AP/SIPA

Novak Djokovic may not be in the shape of his life on this Australian Open, he retains all his humor. After qualifying this Saturday for the round of 16 of the Australian Grand Slam, the 35-year-old Serb answered a question from former player Jelena Dokic, about her desire to resist the younger generation.

“What do you mean by young people? 35 years old is the new 25 years old, ”he said, all smiles, before being cheered by the spectators in Melbourne. Before that, he again seemed to suffer in his left thigh before beating Grigor Dimitrov (7-6, 6-3, 6-4) in the third round of the Australian Open.

Opposed to Australian De Minaur in the round of 16

Injured before the start of the tournament, Novak Djokovic explained that he refused to forfeit before the Australian Open, where he hopes to equal the record of 22 Grand Slam titles held by Rafael Nadal, to “see how it would go on the short “. To hear it, it still looks complicated to go to the end this year, even if he did not go into the details of his injury.

The first game [contre Roberto Carballes], it went well. At the second [face à Enzo Couacaud], I suffered a lot. There were several moments when it was really bad. Same today [contre Dimitrov]. But I survived and passed. »

“Djoko” spoke about the sequel, which will see him face the Australian Alex De Minaur (24th) on Monday to seek a place in the quarter-finals: “I will take the matches one after the other. I don’t know what awaits me, but I keep hope and faith for the best”. After all, compared to its 2022 edition, this Australian Open 2023 can already almost be seen as a success despite the thigh pain, right?

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