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Pablo Carreno Busta questions Novak Djokovic's use of injury time-outs

Pablo Carreno Busta questions Novak Djokovic’s use of injury time-outs after Serbian called one while behind in their French Open quarter-final… before going on to turn it around and win in four sets

  • Pablo Carreno Busta has hit out at his French Open opponent Novak Djokovic
  • The Spaniard was in the ascendancy when Serbian called a medical time-out 
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas now stands between the Serbian and yet another major final
  • Djokovic had already been embroiled in controversy this year over coronavirus

Pablo Carreno Busta has questioned Novak Djokovic’s use of injury time-outs after the world No 1 defeated the Spaniard in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros.

Djokovic was far from his best early on and received visits from the physio during the first set as Carreno Busta edged in front.

The 33-year-old then required further attention to a problem with his upper left arm before the start of the second set.

Novak Djokovic receives treatment to his left upper arm before winning the match in four sets

Pablo Carreno Busta said Djokovic had a history of calling for timeouts when he is struggling

After taking on fluids and eating some dates, the 17-time Grand Slam champion started to turn the tide, despite continuing to look unomfortable, and eventually won 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 to set up a last-four clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday. 

However, 15th seed Carreno Busta cast doubt on Djokovic’s injury complaints and felt there was an alternative explanation. 

‘Every time the match becomes a bit difficult for him, he asks for the doctor,’ he said in his post-match press conference.

‘I don’t know whether he has a chronic problem with his shoulder or it is simply a mental issue that he does that every time he is in trouble.

‘But it is not something that made me lose my focus because I knew it was going to happen at the US Open [in their previous encounter] and I knew it was going to happen here. And I also know that it will keep happening.’        

Djokovic said he had been experiencing discomfort before arriving on court. 

Djokovic faced Carreno Busta last month when he was disqualified for hitting a line judge

‘I definitely didn’t feel great coming into the court today. A few things happened in the warm-up,’ he said.

‘I had to deal with those physical issues coming onto the court. As the match went on, I felt better, didn’t feel as much pain.

‘Especially for a set and a half he was the better player, dictating the play. I was very neutral.’

Djokovic trudges off court after being disqualified for the line-judge incident in New York

Djokovic and Alexander Zverev embrace at the much-criticised Adria Tour event in Belgrade

The pair faced each other in the fourth round at the US Open last month in a match that saw Djokovic disqualified after accidentally hitting a ball into the throat of a line judge having lost his serve towards the end of the first set. 

It is far from Djokovic’s only controversial moment of 2020, either. 

He contracted Covid-19 in June after organising a series of tournaments across Eastern Europe called the Adria Tour, where fans were allowed to attend in large numbers and social distancing guidelines were ignored as players posed for photo opportunities together and Djokovic played basketball with Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and US Open finalist Alexander Zverev. 

NBA star Nikola Jokic found out he had the virus having embraced Djokovic at a basketball game in the lead-up to the first leg of the tour in Belgrade.  

Djokovic and Viktor Troicki both found out they had Covid-19 after playing each other

Nikola Jokic hugs Djokovic in Belgrade shortly before finding out he had tested positive

Djokovic also attended a nightclub with Dimitrov, Zverev and US Open champion Dominic Thiem in the Serbian capital. 

Dimitrov and Borna Coric competed against each other in the Croatia leg of the event, with Coric hugging Dimitrov before their match. Within three days, both players announced they had tested positive, along with Viktor Troicki. 

The tour was then abruptly cancelled ahead of the final of the Croatia leg. Djokovic declined a Covid-19 test despite three other players testing positive because he said he didn’t have any symptoms. He then flew home to Serbia with his family, where he tested positive. 

Coric (left), Dimitrov (second left) and Djokovic all announced they had Covid-19 in late June




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