World No.1 Novak Djokovic has cited blisters on a hand as the reason for his sudden withdrawal from an exhibition match in Adelaide.
Djokovic was released from quarantine earlier Friday ahead of a scheduled exhibition match against Jannik Sinner at Memorial Drive.
But he withdrew from the event just 30 minutes before being due to take to the court.
Djokovic’s camp say the Serbian star withdrew because of severe blisters on his right hand.
Djokovic and others among tennis’ elite including Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal quarantined in Adelaide ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne starting February 8.
The South Australian government created Friday’s exhbition event also featuring, among others, Ash Barty, Simona Halep and Venus Williams.
Djokovic appeared at a brief media call about two-and-a-half hours before his scheduled match.
The 17-time grand slam winner, on release from hotel confines, went to a nearby park.
“A walk in the park, just putting bare feet on the ground,” Djokovic said at the media call.
“Just doing something that I didn’t have a chance to do. So just having space, that is what we all kind of missed.”
At the park, Djokovic said he was “thrilled to be out” of quarantine.
“It feels just a little bit strange, to be honest,” he said.
Djokovic dodged a question about Australia’s Nick Kyrgios, who on social media branded the Serb a “tool”.
Djokovic earlier this month requested Tennis Australia reduce restrictions on players quarantining in Melbourne, which prompted Kyrgios’ online response.
Djokovic said his letter to Australian Open boss Craig Tiley was miscontrued.
“The letter that I sent to Craig that was leaked was a private letter with suggestions … it was portrayed as demands and that is not true,” Djokovic said.
“I just suggested a few things for the guys stuck in Melbourne like equipment.
“But it was misconstrued.
“And I understand that there is a lot of anger and suffering happening at the moment for people inside and outside of Australia because of what everyone is experiencing.
“So many people are losing their jobs and all you can do is have compassion and send them my support.”