Novak Djokovic has been urged not to continue his ATP Finals round-robin match with Daniil Medvedev after being caught on camera shaking violently after losing the second set tie-break. The world No. 8’s right hand could be seen trembling during the changeover after he was taken to a deciding set while Annabel Croft questioned why Djokovic was choosing to continue when he has a semi-final to play on Saturday.
Djokovic looked to be cruising to his third win of the week in Turin as he led by a set and had a break point on Medvedev’s serve at 4-4 in the second set. But he failed to convert it and was suddenly struck by a contact lens issue as he was forced to leave the court for six minutes, returning and saving three set points before it eventually went to a tiebreak.
And the 35-year-old could be seen struggling in the breaker as he doubled over his bench during the change-of-ends with the fourth seed leading 4-2, looking physically exhausted after some long rallies. His condition only worsened as he lost the second set 7-6(5) and was dragged into a decider, as he sat down on his bench and could be seen violently shaking in his right hand before taking his shirt off and pouring an entire bottle of water on himself.
It prompted fans to call for the world No. 8 to retire the match on Twitter, with Djokovic already safely through to the semi-final as the group winner while Medvedev has already been eliminated. And former pro Annabel Croft shared her confusion at the Serb’s decision to continue the match on Amazon Prime Video.
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“Extraordinary scenes out here, I’ve never seen anything like it,” the former world No. 24 said. “He looked to be in such command and control of this match. It was just beautiful, clinical ball striking. very competitive but it all seemed to be quite straightforward.
“And it turned when he was down 5-4, he left the court, he had all those eye problems, he had to go and I think change his contact lenses.” Explaining why she thought the eye issues were a turning-point, Croft continued: “He came back and he lost a little bit of momentum there, focus and concentration. Got himself into trouble in that service game, managed to save set points. They had that one long exchange where he was doubled-over and that was the first sign that we saw that he was suffering a few physical problems.
“But seeing him like this, I mean it’s every single point. He’s not even walking as we normally see him waking, he looks as if he’s stumbling, he looks as if he’s feeling sick and dizzy. He doesn’t look right at all and it’s a complete nightmare for him becayse he just wanted to get this match done and dusted, have a three from three [record] in the group stages.”
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And she questioned why the seventh seed in Turin was continuing to exhaust himself with his semi-final against Taylor Fritz just a day away, although Djokovic stuck it out and continued well into the third set, holding serve for no issues while his team watched on , concerned.
“You can see him shaking here at the changeover,” the retired British pro added. “His right hand, it’s obviously coursing through his body, he’s absolutely not feeling right. I can’t believe that he would like to continue this match because of course that could affect him going through to tomorrow’s semi-final. We already know he’s through to play Taylor Fritz tomorrow so I’m surprised that he would want to continue this match.”