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Novak Djokovic troubled by arm during US Open win over Jerzy Janowicz

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Novak Djokovic was bothered by his right arm during a first-round victory at the US Open

Novak Djokovic managed to emerge with a 6-3, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1 victory over Jerzy Janowicz of Poland in the first round of the US Open on Monday night, but there were plenty of signs of trouble, starting with a visit from a trainer who massaged Djokovics bothersome arm after only five games.

Asked about his health during an on-court interview, Djokovic deflected the question, saying, I dont think its necessary to talk about this now. Im through. Im taking it day by day.

During the match, Djokovic hit first serves around 100 mph, sometimes slower 25 mph or so below his usual average speed. He hit second serves in the low 80s. He flexed his right arm, the one he has used to wield a racket on the way to 12 grand slam titles, and appeared generally unhappy.

In the stands, Djokovics coach, Boris Becker, gnawed on his fingernails, looking nervous as can be. This was the world No1s first match at a major tournament since losing to Sam Querrey in the third round of Wimbledon, which ended the Serbs bid for a calendar-year grand slam after titles at the Australian Open and French Open.

Heading into the US Open, Djokovic spoke about dealing with a left wrist injury that flared up in the days before the Rio Olympics this month. But that appeared to be fine against Janowicz, a former top-20 player who reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2013 and is now ranked 247th after his own series of injury issues.

Earlier in Arthur Ashe Stadium, another two-time US Open champion, Rafael Nadal, stood near the net after winning his first grand slam match in three months 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 against Denis Istomin and unraveled the thick wrap of white tape protecting his all-important left wrist. He said hes still not back to hitting his forehand the way he does when hes at his best, but there was nothing that seemed to be as debilitating as what Djokovic went through.

All in all, Djokovics issues figure to loom large as the tournament progresses, and therefore were the most noteworthy development on day one at Flushing Meadows that did include drama elsewhere.

There was 20th-seeded John Isners comeback from two sets down to edge 18-year-old Frances Tiafoe before a rowdy, standing-room-only crowd at the new Grandstand. And 26th-seeded Jack Socks five-set victory over 18-year-old Taylor Fritz in another all-American matchup.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/aug/29/novak-djokovic-jerzy-janowicz-us-open-arm-injury-tennis

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