Novak Djokovic won his 10th Australian Open title despite managing a three-centimetre tear in his hamstring, tournament director Craig Tiley has revealed.
Djokovic suffered the hamstring injury during his run to the title in Adelaide earlier in January, ahead of the Australian Open.
He bristled at questions about the severity of his injury during the fortnight in Melbourne, where he spoke at length about being hampered by the pain despite blasting past opponents in the latter stages of the tournament.
It caused him clear discomfort during the opening three rounds, when he had to take multiple medical timeouts to get treatment and have his hamstring re-taped mid-match. He described spending the time between his matches "hooked up to machines" as he tried to overcome the injury, and was unable to get out on the practice court.
But Djokovic, 35, was able to overcome the physical issue when it counted and looked close to full fitness from the quarter-final onwards.
He won a record-breaking 10th title in Melbourne on Sunday, beating Stefanos Tsitsipas, returning to world No 1 and equalling Rafael Nadal's men's record haul of 22 Grand Slam titles.
Tiley said it was all the more "remarkable" that Djokovic did so considering the severity of his injury, which he confirmed on Wednesday.
"This guy I did see, he had a three-centimetre tear in his hammy," Tiley told SEN Sportsday. "Absolutely [I saw the scans], the doctors are going to tell you the truth. There was a lot of speculation about whether it was true or not, it's hard to believe that they can do what they do with those kinds of injuries. He's remarkable, to deal with it extremely professionally."