PERTH, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 03: Novak Djokovic of Team Serbia receives treatment to his right arm during his singles match against Alex de Minaur of Team Australia during day six of the 2024 United Cup at RAC Arena on January 03, 2024 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images) Novak Djokovic received treatment on his wrist for the second straight match. Paul Kane/Getty Images CNN  — 

Novak Djokovic says he has “plenty of time” to fully recover from the wrist injury that hampered him during his surprise defeat to Australia’s Alex de Minaur in the United Cup on Wednesday.

The world No. 1 was beaten 6-4 6-4 – his first defeat on Australian soil since 2018, a run stretching 43 matches – and received treatment from the trainer on his right wrist for the second straight match.

Australia won the tie 3-0 to advance to the United Cup semifinals.

“I knew that probably [I was] not going to be at 100% physically, emotionally, mentally game-wise in the opening week of a season,” Djokovic told reporters, per Reuters. “Neither did I expect that.

“I was not on my level, but it was just one of these days where I didn’t feel my best on the court and [my] opponent played very well.

“I think I’ll be okay, to be honest,” Djokovic added. “[The wrist injury] did have quite an impact, particularly on the forehand and serve. I have plenty of time, I think enough time to get myself in the right shape for the Australian Open.”

The 24-time grand slam winner is the overwhelming favorite to defend his crown Down Under and win a record-extending 11th Australian Open title.

The tournament begins on Sunday, January 14, a day earlier than usual as organizers try to prevent late finishes that led to criticism from some players last year.

Alex de Minaur of Australia, left, shakes hands at the net after his win over Novak Djokovic of Serbia during the United Cup tennis tournament in Perth, Australia, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024. (AP Photo/Trevor Collens) Alex de Minaur beat Djokovic in straight sets. Trevor Collens/AP

Djokovic insisted that the process of getting back to full health is “not strange” to him now.

“It’s not unusual,” he said. “I’ve been in this kind of situation so many times and I know what I need to do along with my team to get myself ready. I hope that I will not be injured this time around.

“That’s what we’re going to work on, to get my body in the right shape, optimal state, so that I can perform at the high level throughout, hopefully, the entire Australian Open.”

Elsewhere, Poland beat China 3-0 in the 18-team mixed event to advance to the semifinals, with France and Norway currently tied at 1-1.

Nadal continues strong return from injury

Meanwhile, 22-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal continued his impressive comeback on Thursday, beating Australian wildcard Jason Kubler 6-1 6-2 to book a quarterfinal spot at the Brisbane International.

Nadal got off to a quick start, leading 5-0 in the first set, in only his second singles match following a year-long layoff due to an injury sustained at the 2023 Australian Open.

Kubler finally managed to get on the board, but the 37-year-old Spaniard continued his momentum well into the second set, cruising to victory.

Nadal will play another Australian, Jordan Thompson, in the last eight.

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