Wimbledon, England: Top seed Novak Djokovic feared his Wimbledon campaign was over when he crashed to the Centre Court grass and hurt his shoulder in his third round victory over Gilles Simon on Friday.
The 2011 champion grimaced as searing pain shot through his left arm after making a diving attempt to reach a Simon drive in the sixth game of the third set.
The 27-year-old required an immediate medical timeout and swallowed a painkiller before gathering his composure to complete a 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win, his seventh successive victory over the Frenchman.
"I tried to land on my left arm. I basically had a strong impact on the shoulder. When I stood up, I felt that click or pop. I feared maybe it might be a dislocated shoulder or something like that, or joint problem," said the Serb.
"But luckily for me it was only an impact that had a minor effect on the joint and the muscles around, but no significant damage that can cause a bigger problem.
"I just came from the doctor's office, did an ultrasound. It's all looking good. They said the joint is not damaged, which is the most important thing."
Djokovic, who next faces French 14th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga for a place in the quarter-finals, joked that he would have to take lessons in successful diving from coach Boris Becker, who perfected the art of the diving volley during his push to three Wimbledon titles.
"It was obviously a scary fall. I talked with Boris. We obviously need to work on my diving volleys, learning how to fall down on the court. I'm not very skillful in that."
Djokovic said that despite the fall, he was satisfied with his performance as he reached the fourth round at the All England Club for the eighth time.
"In the important moments I played well and came up with the right selection of shots, even though I dropped a couple of service games. Now there are two days off so I'm going to recover and get ready," he added.
Djokovic has won 10 of his 11 meetings with the big-serving Tsonga, including in the 2011 Wimbledon semi-finals and the quarter-finals at the 2012 Olympic Games, which were staged at the All England Club.
But the Serb knows the flamboyant Tsonga, twice a Wimbledon semi-finalist, is a dangerous opponent on grass.
"It's obvious that as the tournament progresses you are going to encounter players with a higher ranking that can make an impact at this stage," Djokovic added.
"He is a great grasscourt player and has won against some good players at Wimbledon.
"He loves the energy of the stadium. I remember my matches against him in the 2011 semi-finals here and the Olympic Games."