• ATP Tour

Djokovic escapes injury in freak incident

ESPN staff
December 31, 2012
Serbia beat Italy in the Hopman Cup

Novak Djokovic narrowly avoided injury in a freak incident after he helped Serbia to victory over Italy in the Hopman Cup on Monday.

Djokovic, who had only flown into Australia 24 hours prior to his match after winning the Mubadala Championships in Dubai, defeated Andreas Seppi in straight sets to clinch victory in the contest after Ana Ivanovic had earlier downed Francesca Schiavone.

But Djokovic was then involved in a dangerous incident after the match, as hoardings collapsed around him while he signed autographs for enthusiastic fans. The Serbian was struck by the hoardings but appeared to shrug off the injury after a few moments of concern, as he played in a doubles match later in the day.

"It was a bit of a shock and I'm glad that the children involved are okay. I am fine," said Djokovic, who admitted he was more pre-occupied with jetlag.

"I arrived quite late last night and didn't get long hours of sleep and felt this morning like I'm dream-walking. But as the match went on I was managing to get my rhythm. I broke the ice after the first set and felt a little bit better."

Former world No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko was the main attraction during Monday's action at the Qatar Open in Doha, where David Ferrer is the top seed. Davydenko kicked off the new season with a routine 6-2 6-3 win over Victor Hanescu, while elsewhere Viktor Troicki also advanced.

At the Brisbane International, where many male players have chosen to tune up ahead of the forthcoming Australian Open, there were relatively comfortable wins for Kei Nishikori, Florian Mayer and Jarkko Nieminen against Marinko Matosevic, Santiago Giraldo and Julian Benneteau.

And at the Chennai Open, there was disappointment for Britain's James Ward, who lost to world No. 551 Prakash Amritraj in three sets. Ward, a former Queens Club semi-finalist, looked to be in control when he claimed the opening set, but things gradually slipped out of his grasp as Amritraj rallied - eventually holding a nervy final service game to clinch a 5-7 6-4 6-4 triumph.

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