Rafael Nadal's uncle and former coach Toni Nadal has expressed doubt over Novak Djokovic's claims of injury along with his nephew, who declared it would be "impossible" for the Serbian star to win the Australian Open if he "really, really" was injured.The polarising world No.1 sent the Australian Open into a spin when he announced an abdominal injury he suffered against Taylor Fritz could force him to withdraw from the tournament. The 17-time Grand Slam winner said he was sure it was a muscle tear and admitted if he wasn't competing in a major he wouldn't be playing.Djokovic dominated Milos Raonic in his fourth round clash to set up a quarter-final match-up against Alexander Zverev, even though there were signs he was struggling throughout.Watch the Australian Open with live streams of every court at 9Now. Click here to start watching!The mystery abdominal injury and Djokovic's comments have raised questions about the severity of the problem and how he has managed to bounce back so quickly from a torn muscle.Djoker fights through injury in round four clashToni Nadal, who coached Rafa for most of his career, openly questioned Serb's diagnosis while pointing out how much the world's top ranked men's player recovered to beat Raonic."Who also seems to have overcome his physical problems is Novak Djokovic, who has managed to qualify for the quarter-final round after defeating Canadian Milos Raonic," Toni Nadal wrote in his column for El Pais."In the case of the Serbian, it is surprising that so repeatedly annoyances come over him, to the point of sowing doubts about his permanence in the tournament, and then disappear overnight."Nadal echoed his uncle's sentiments when asked about the injury at the Australian Open, with the Spanish star doubting whether Djokovic's assessment of the injury was accurate. Nadal, who has dealt with a raft of injury issues throughout his career, said if Djokovic does have a muscle tear he'll only make it worse by playing.Australian Open: Novak Djokovic v Taylor Fritz"You do make mistakes because it's impossible to know exactly what's going on when you are competing," he said."For example, I remember in the 2009 US Open I started with a strain here in the abdominal."I started with six millimetres or so of strain and I finished the tournament, which I lost in the semi-finals, with 26 millimetres. Of course it wasn't a smart decision."The world No.2 and 20-time grand slam winner said playing with injury almost always ends in disaster, adding that if the injury is serious there's no way anybody can go on to win a Grand Slam."You need to find a balance, but of course at this point of my career, if there is a big chance to increase something very important, probably I will not play," he said."For me the happiness is much more important than give me a chance to win. And at the same time, if you are bad, you will not win. That's clear. If you really have physical problems, you will not win.Rafael Nadal v Heckler"If you have some pain and it's not putting you in a situation that limits you, the movements, maybe you can find a way."But when you really, really have an injury, it's impossible to win a tournament like this."The issue has provoked a strong reaction across the board from the tennis community and media, with Serena Williams' coach Patrick Mouratoglou throwing shade over Djokovic's claims."Sometimes during the matches, Novak (Djokovic) plays a bit with the mind of the opponent when he's in trouble," he told Tennis Majors. "He pretending he's giving up that he's not there. And then, boom, he plays again."He's done that a lot of time in the past, OK, but he doesn't fake an injury during a tournament."Williams' coach went a step further on Twitter during the match against Raonic, posting: "Looking at his performance so far vs Raonic, it is difficult to believe that Novak has an abdominal muscle tear," Mouratoglou wrote.Former British tennis star Tim Henman also sided with Nadal, telling Eurosport if Djokovic was feeling the pain of a muscle tear, it would be "impossible" to continue."He was talking about it being an abdominal tear. Well, if it's an abdominal tear it's almost impossible to carry on," Henman said.For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by clicking here!
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