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Novak Djokovic Confirms He's Playing Through Shoulder Injury at 2019 US Open

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 29, 2019

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 28: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after winning his Men's Singles second round match against Juan Ignacio Londero of Argentina on day three of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2019 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Novak Djokovic gutted through shoulder pain to earn a straight-sets, second-round victory in the U.S. Open over Juan Ignacio Londero on Wednesday.

After the match, the 16-time major winner revealed how the injury affected his play, telling ESPN's Tom Rinaldi (h/t Adam Zagoria of the New York Times) that "it was definitely affecting my serve and backhand."

As Dan Wolken of USA Today wrote, Djokovic "didn't go into much detail" about the nature of the injury. The defending U.S. Open champion received treatment on a few occasions during the match, including the first-set changeover.

Djokovic then spoke further on his injury post-match, according to TennisNow.

"I'm going to assess this injury tomorrow even more with further consultations with experts in sports medicine. I'm hoping that in two days' time I will be able to play pain-free, if that is possible.

"It has caused hindrance to my game for sure tonight, especially with the serve and backhand. It was not easy to play with this kind of sensation, to be honest. I did not experience that too many times in my career."

He is scheduled to play the winner of No. 27 Dusan Lajovic and Denis Kudla in the third round.

Those two face off Thursday at 11 a.m. ET in a match previously scheduled for Wednesday but canceled because of rain.

It's unclear when Djokovic will play his to-be-determined third-round opponent with numerous matches pushed back a day, but the top-seeded player has a decided advantage over either of them.

According to MatchStat, Djokovic beat Kudla in straight sets in the second round of this year's Wimbledon in their only matchup. He's beaten Lajovic in straight sets in two matches: one at the 2018 Monte Carlo Masters and another time at Doha in 2015. Neither man has advanced past the fourth round of a major.

The question is whether Djokovic's shoulder causes him problems when he takes the court either in the third round or even later in the tournament.

The 32-year-old seemingly struggled with the shoulder injury during portions of his second-round matchup, falling into a 3-0 hole in the second set. However, he stormed back to take the second and win the third 6-1.

At the very least, Djokovic will have two full days off to rest for his third-round match. As Zagoria noted, however, Djokovic doesn't exactly have an easy road to the finals, with Daniil Medvedev and Roger Federer potentially waiting in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.

Medvedev has beaten Djokovic twice in their three matches this year, and the 20-time major winner needs no introduction.

Still, Djokovic is the unquestioned top player in the world right now, having won four of the last seven majors. If his pain subsides, then he's still the clear tournament favorite.