Novak Djokovic is arguably the greatest player ever, of course. He has more Grand Slams than any other men's players and he has more more Masters 1000s as well. Statistically, there is not much debate about who is the best ever because Djokovic is far and away the leader in so many categories, including total weeks atop the ATP rankings.
But when it comes to high-stress and high-end matches against other very good players, a little thing can decide the match. This is especially true if one of the players has a slight injury that might not truly be that slight. During Serbia's second group stage match at the United Cup, Djokovic was able to defeat the Czech Republic's Jiri Lehecka, but Djokovic also surprisingly lost a set. He won the match 6-1 6-7(3) 6-1. But then Djokovic has to pull out of the tie-deciding mixed doubles match.
Novak Djokovic said after the match what was obvious during it: He was dealing with a wrist injury. Djokovic was clearly bothered by his wrist against Lehecka, but the Serb is so much better than the Czech player that a bit of an injury likely was not going to stop Djokovic from winning. But what about moving forward, and more importantly, will the wrist affect him at the Australian Open?
Novak Djokovic appears to be dealing with a wrist injury
Joint injuries, such as wrist, knee, and shoulder, can be crippling to a tennis player. Even if a player is able to play through the ailment any hint of weakness can get them beat against the same kind of talent. Djokovic beating Lehecka with a bad wrist is one thing, but beating players such as Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, and Daniil Medvedev is completely different.
Djokovic said after the match, "I managed to play through. It's not the first time or the last time, these things happen. You have to find a solution and thankfully I managed to finish the match and let's see what happens now."
Yes, indeed. Let's see what happens now. The immediate question is whether Novak Djokovic sees the United Cup as important enough to keep playing when his wrist might simply need to be rested. Many times rest is the only way of helping with a wrist issue. He might make it through an event where he is less likely to be challenged, but the injury is definitely worth keeping an eye on to see if it potentially affects Djokovic's 2024 season.