Novak Djokovic admitted he feared his Wimbledon campaign was over when damaging his left shoulder in a “scary fall” during his third-round win over Gilles Simon.
The 2011 champion landed awkwardly after diving for a volley midway through the third set against the world No 44 on Centre Court yesterday, recovering to win 6-4 6-2 6-4.
Djokovic conceded he thought he had dislocated his shoulder, hearing a “click or pop”, but medics have since given the 27-year-old the all-clear.
The six-time grand slam winner will face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the last 16, thankful of a two-day break for slight muscle pain to subside.
“It was obviously a scary fall,” said the Serbian. “I tried to land on my left arm.
“That split-second was not pleasant: I definitely feared I could be out of the tournament.
“I basically had a strong impact on the shoulder. When I stood up I felt that click or pop, whatever you call it.
“I feared maybe it might be a dislocated shoulder, something like that, or a joint problem.
“Luckily for me it was only an impact that had a minor effect on the joint and the muscles around, but no damage that can cause a bigger problem.
“I just came from the doctor’s office, after an ultrasound; it’s all looking good.
“There is no major damage so I’m quite confident it won’t affect my physical state or daily routine.
“They told me I might feel soreness in the next couple of days, but I can play around with practices and recovery and see how it goes.
“Luckily for me it’s all positive news – the doctor started moving and analysing my shoulder on court. Going out like that would be the worst way to exit a tournament.”
Djokovic’s relief at avoiding serious injury even afforded him the chance to joke about seeking diving practice with coach and one-time master of the volley Boris Becker.
“I talked with Boris – we obviously need to work on my diving volleys, learning how to fall down on the court,” laughed Djokovic.
French Open finalist Djokovic eased past erratic Frenchman Simon with little issue, save his own wayward focus.
The top seed admitted he will seek to tighten up his game ahead of far tougher tests to come.
“There are things in my game I would like to improve in a few days and see if I can do better in the next match,” he said.
“I definitely need to gear up before the next match against Tsonga, which is a great challenge.
“I hope I’ll elevate my game as the tournament progresses. If I don’t do that, then I’ll find myself in a very difficult position.”
Frenchman Tsonga saw off Jimmy Wang 6-2 6-2 7-5 to set up that clash with the top seed – a re-run of their Roland Garros clash last month which Djokovic won easily.
“It’s a new opportunity for me to play against one of the best players in the world,” said the 14th seed.
“That’s what I’m looking for to make me a better player.
“I think I need to play against those players.”